City of Santiago de Cuba
Places to Visit in Santiago de Cuba
The main square of the city of Santiago de Cuba is a space full of life. With an architecture that combines several styles, it is surrounded by some of the most emblematic buildings: the former City Hall, the House of Diego Velázquez, the Cathedral, the old Club San Carlos and the Hotel Casa Granda. It constitutes the ring 0, that is to say the founding ring of what initially, in 1515, was the seventh villa of the island, today the second largest city in importance of the country. It was declared National Monument in October of 1978.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba.
The Cathedral is one of the first buildings in Santiago de Cuba, as regulated by the urbanity laws of Castile, characterized by a strong medieval influence. Its present forms respond to the renovations made by the renowned architect Carlos Segrera in 1922, which increased the height of the towers, and the old pediment of the main entrance was finished with a great archangel. It is venue of the fourth bishopric of America.
Diego de Velazquez House.
It is considered the oldest preserved Spanish construction of its type of all Latin America, making it a valuable example of colonial architecture, since it was built between 1516 and 1530. The building, home of the first government of Cuba, presents in its structure remarkable architectural and decorative elements characteristic of Mudejar art. It was converted into a museum that revives the colonial atmosphere of Cuban housing, while possessing a valuable collection of furniture and objects of the era.
Old Town Hall.
Its architecture was adapted by Francisco Prat Puig and reopened in 1950. From the beginning of the village, it was the place from which the edicts issued by the Spanish Crown were publicly read. It is known by the majority of the Cubans for being the site where Fidel Castro spoke for the first time to the town the 1st. of January of 1959, after the triumph of the Revolution. Today it is the seat of the Municipal Assembly of Popular Power.
San Carlos Club.
It constituted the academy San Carlos, in honor to Don Carlos Vargas and Machuca, governor of the eastern department. In 1864 It took the name of San Carlos Club. Several functions has had this property over time. In the 1970s its second level was used as Palaces of marriages and the first as a Cuban office of aviation and East Art Gallery. From the 1980's on the top floor lies the Municipal Culture House and on the floor the East Art Gallery.
Casa Granda Hotel.
Belonging to the Cubanacán hotel chain, it is one of the emblematic hotels in Santiago de Cuba, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. This place was the seat of a manor house of the Fernandez de Granda family, used as a guest house at the end of the 19th century. In 1909, the Cuban Railroad Company bought it to construct a building destined to hotel, project commissioned to the architect Carlos Segrera. The construction of the building culminated on January 1, 1914. In 1916 the roof garden project was carried out. The building consists of four floors; on the first floor is the lobby, restaurant and a large corridor for coffee-room, with a magnificent view of the Cespedes Park. The remaining floors are intended for rooms and the roof, is the roof garden.
In January of 1950 is approved the project of construction of the "Velázquez Balcony" by the City council of Santiago de Cuba, in honor to the founder of the village. The work was in charge of the contractor and architect Javier Ravelo Meneses. In September 1953, with the presence of the Municipal Mayor, civil, military, and government authorities, the "Velázquez Balcony" was officially inaugurated. The intention was to provide the city with a viewpoint, which gathers the history of the first moments of Santiago de Cuba, its first bastion of defense, as well as significant personalities that transcended the time of the foundation of the Villa.
Model of the City.
This site hosts a model of the city, in which a specialized tour is offered. It exposes the urban growth of the city of Santiago de Cuba. It also has a photographic exhibition, and a snack bar.
Barrio El Tivolí.
District of the city that blends the cultural syncretism and ethnic exchanges of Cuban nationality. It had an urbanistic impulse to the heat of the Haitian Revolution in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It belongs to the French memory in this city, and constitutes an emblem of it, whose history is intimately linked to the Tivolí. It has two other great attractions: the Museo de la Lucha Clandestina, in honor of the Santiago fighters who received support and solidarity during the war against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista (1952-1959), and the humble house in which he lived between 1931 and 1933 the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, while studying in Santiago de Cuba. Until today the neighborhood shows that harmonious combination between the cult and the popular. Poets and troubadours have sung to its uniqueness, the ductility of its existence and the open and cheerful character of its inhabitants.
Padre Pico Staircase.
Built in 1899 under the auspices of Mayor Emilio Bacardi and in honor of the Catholic priest Bernardo del Pico Redín, it is one of the most well-known streets of the city. It reveals itself as a true natural lookout, and one of the doors of the neighborhood El Tivolí. It has 52 steps grouped in 13 blocks of 4 steps each, and 12 breaks.
Lucha Clandestina Museum.
Located in Intendente Hill, in the neighborhood of El Tivolí. This museum treasures a part of the history related to the fight against the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista, especially the role of the city of Santiago de Cuba, and the actions carried out in the cities and towns in support of the Rebel Army and the Movement 26 of July.
French Tomb: "The Charity of the East".
The French Tomb: "The Charity of the East" was declared an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in November 2003. The French Tomb is a recreational cultural space, which has its origins in the eighteenth century. In this form of artistic expression, African slaves fused their rhythms with the French dances of the Caribbean. Cuba arrived from Haiti and appears in the coffee plantations of the east of the island, where it evolves until adopting different structures that crystallize in the form of society with which it is known today. The French Tomb conserves genuine musical instruments, dances, touches and songs of the ancestors, besides the culinary customs, the statutes and original spiritual precepts. Their drums, built by African hands, have more than a century.
Founded in June 1996. The museum gathers the history of rum production, counting with five exhibition halls, where they rely on photography and samples of the first rum productions to date. It also provides information about sugar cane as a material for rum production. There is also an area of aging barrels and displays a variety of labels and packaging of rums, from old marks already missing such as the Methuselah and the Caribbean Club, to others that endure such as Ron Santiago or Caney. As courtesy of the museum, visitors are offered a drink to taste the aroma and flavor of Ron Santiago, another of the territory's flagship products.
The Direction of the Government of Santiago de Cuba approves the founding of Trova House, José "Pepe" Sánchez, with the aim of maintaining, disseminating and bringing to all corners of the world Cuban traditional and troubadour music. In this site, musical groups and small format sets of traditional Cuban music are presented. It is also home to the Trova International Festival "Pepe Sánchez", which is held every year in September in our city.
José María Heredia Born House.
For its historical and architectural values, the birthplace of José María Heredia is created to preserve one of the relics of the colonial era of the city. This museum in Santiago de Cuba exhibits documents, paintings and objects from the period that belonged to the Heredia family. It is the main institution dedicated to promoting the life of America's first romantic poet, known as the Niagara singer.
The carnaval museum was inaugurated in June 1983, and gathers the different stages of this popular demonstration that in July fills the city with music and dance. Its halls are completely devoted to the history of these popular festivities, with a stamp that distinguishes them from those held in other parts of the island, mainly because in their origins they mixed Spanish, African and Franco - Haitian influences. This institution exhibits models of floats, trophies, costumes, cloaks, street decorations, as well as the musical instruments of the main groups that take part in the celebrations: cabildo carabali, French tomb, and conga santiaguera.
Inaugurated as a Municipal Museum, today the Emilio Bacardí Provincial Museum, is the first institution of its kind opened in Cuba in 1899. Its creator and promoter was Emilio Bacardí Moreau, the first mayor of Santiago de Cuba. It treasures valuable samples of pre-Columbian culture, national art and Cuban history, among them, various objects that belonged to the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, as well as personal objects of Father de la Patria Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. It also exhibits an Egyptian mummy brought by Emilio Bacardi himself, as well as Paracas mummies from Peru. It also has an important collection of colonial painting, as well as works of the Spanish Renaissance, and pieces by Cuban creators such as Wilfredo Lam and René Portocarrero.
It is one of the most crowded spaces of the Historic Center. At the center stands out a statue of the entire body of the independentist Francisco Vicente Aguilera, native of the neighboring city of Bayamo. Houses of the colonial stage accommodate several restaurants and the Taberna de Dolores. The most notable building, the old church of Dolores, has been converted into a beautiful concert hall, now home to the West Symphony Orchestra, as well as the venue of the International Choir Festival of Santiago de Cuba, held in our city each Two years in the month of November.
Plaza de Marte.
It is one of the most central spaces in Santiago de Cuba, emerged at the end of the 18th century. This square is a tribute to the independence of Cuba. By municipal agreement, in June of 1899 was given the name of Freedom Square, although the locals continued calling it Plaza de Marte. It is one of the favorite places of the inhabitants of Santiago. In its surroundings you can find important institutions, among them the Iris Jazz Club, the Café Mamá Inés, the Hotel Libertad of the Hotel Chain Islazul, as well as the Patio los Dos Abuelos and one of the Shopping Centers of the city: "Mars Plaza".
This Cuban military barracks became history after the assault of a group of young people directed by Fidel Castro that had as objective to take the barracks and soon to go to the mountains of Santiago de Cuba to begin the fight against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. At present, it houses the Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio, and in one of the facilities there is a museum that reflects details of the action produced there on July 26, 1953.
Abel Santamaria Park.
This site is made up of a museum, a library and a monument. The institution is located in the ruins of the old Civil Hospital Saturnino Lora, scene of the armed action carried out on July 26, 1953, and was taken by 23 young people, led by Abel Santamaría Cuadrado. Months later, on October 16 of the same year, the leader of the revolutionary movement Fidel Castro was judged in a small study room of the nurses. In this transcendental trial, Fidel pronounced his self-defense plea known as "History Will Absolve Me."
Located at the entrance of the city of Santiago de Cuba, it is considered the most important monumental work of the 20th century executed in the city. In honor to the hero Antonio Maceo, in it stands the highest statue of the country with 16 meters of height, work of the local sculptor Alberto Lezcay.
It is the most important cultural center in Santiago de Cuba, named after José María Heredia, the first romantic poet of America. It is the only theater designed and built in Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution of 1959. Institution specialized in the programming, organization and promotion of artistic shows, exhibitions, festivals, congresses, conventions, conferences, and other events. It is the headquarters of the International Trade Fair EXPOCARIBE, as well as one of the headquarters of the Caribbean Festival, commonly known as Fiesta del Fuego.