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Cuban architecture

Santiago de Cuba City

Santiago de Cuba Santiago de Cuba is the capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of Cuba, some 870 km south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana.

Santiago de Cuba City

Historically Santiago de Cuba has long been the second most important city on the island after Havana, and still remains the second largest. It is on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and is an important sea port.

Santiago de Cuba was founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on June 28, 1514. In 1516 the settlement was destroyed by fire, and was immediately rebuilt. This was the starting point of the expeditions led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernán Cortés to the coasts of Mexico in 1518, and in 1538 by Hernando de Soto’s expedition to Florida. The first cathedral was built in the city in 1528. From 1522 until 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba. The city was plundered by French forces in 1553, and by British forces under Christopher Myngs in 1662.

The city experienced an influx of French immigrants in the late 18th century and early 19th century, many coming from Haiti after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. This added to the city’s eclectic cultural mix, already rich with Spanish and African culture.

Santiago de Cuba was the hometown of poet José María Heredia. It houses a museum that displays the extensive art collection of the Bacardí family.

The city is well known for its cultural life. Some of Cuba´s most famous musicians, including Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa (all of which participated in the Buena Vista Social Club) and trova composer Ñico Saquito (Benito Antonio Fernández Ortiz) were born in the city or in one of the villages surrounding it. They have contributed to the typical, country-like music of the city.

Furthermore, Santiago de Cuba is well-known for its traditional dances, most notably son, from which salsa has been derived, and guaguancó, which is accompanied by percussion music only. The city is also well-known for its Carnival, which is strangely enough celebrated in July. During Carnival, traditional conga music is played in the streets on a typical, pentatonic trumpet, called the trompeta china.

Places to go:

  • Emilio Bacardí Museum
  • La Trova House
  • Diego Velázquez House
  • El Cobre Church
  • Moncada Museum
  • El Morro Castle
  • Céspedes Park
  • The Cathedral
  • El Tivolí District
  • Lucha Clandestina Museum
  • Padre Pico Staircase
  • Heredia Street
  • Museum of Carnival
  • Antonio Maceo Borth House
  • Santa Ifigenia Cementery
  • Historical Museum ” 26 Julio”
  • Antonio Maceo Revolution Square
  • San Juan Hill
  • Vista Alegre area
  • Granma Cay

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