Santiago de Cuba , city
(1994 est. pop. 385,800), capital of Santiago de Cuba prov.,
SE Cuba. Cuba's second largest city, Santiago is situated
on a cliff overlooking a bay. Minerals, agricultural produce,
and woods are exported. The city is also the terminus of a
major highway and railway. Founded in 1514 by Diego de Velázquez
and moved to its present site in 1588, Santiago served for
some time as Cuba's capital. In its early days, it was captured
by French and English buccaneers and was a center of the smuggling
trade with the British West Indies. Frenchmen fleeing the
slave revolt in Haiti in the early 19th cent. settled in Santiago
and heavily influenced the city's development.
During the Spanish-American War of 1898, U.S. ships established
a blockade in Santiago's harbor; when the Spanish admiral
Pascual Cervera y Topete, bottled up in the harbor, made
a desperate attempt to escape, his fleet was destroyed.
Heavy fighting preceded the city's surrender. Fidel Castro
began his revolutionary struggle against Fulgencio Batista
y Zaldívar by attacking the Moncada army garrison
in Santiago on July 26, 1953. The city retains many colonial
landmarks, notably its cathedral (the largest in Cuba) and
the crumbling forts that stand on high cliffs above the
harbor. It also has a university.
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The Casa de la Musica (House of Music) in Santiago de Cuba is an absolute must visit place which will undoubtedly become the highlight of your visit to Cuba. Every night you can listen to the intoxicating rhythms of Cuban music while dancing the night away. You'll meet locals who encourage visitors to get up and dance, some of which are all too happy to lend a hand with your salsa technique. Drinks are reasonably priced for such a popular [...]
The Parque de Baconao just outside Santiago de Cuba is a must for families with children. Large stone life-size animals such as dinosaurs and modern creatures litter this beautiful park called the Valle de la Prehistoria Park or Prehistoric Valley. Close by you will also find a small car museum with some old relics from the 30s, 40s and 50s. There's also an aquarium with dolphins and other marine creatures. As a whole day out for the family, there's a [...]
Cespedes Park is the epicenter of Santiago de Cuba and offers a perfect insight into Cuban life. The romanticism of Cubans is demonstrated here through; talking, hustling, flirting, guitar strumming groups who offer impromptu musical serenades. Under the watchful eye of the bronze bust of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, famous founding father of the Cuban independence in 1868, street life seamlessly continues before your very gaze. Annexed to the Casa de la Trova music hall and blessed by the shadows [...]
Located in the property originally owned by the Diego Velazquez, Spanish conqueror and first ever Governor of Cuba. The house was built between 1516 and 1530 and has survived despite numerous fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters which have plagued Santiago de Cuba over the past 300 years. The house offers an architectural and ornamental look into design back in the 14th century, especially via its windows and numerous balconies, cedar roofs. The Diego Velazquez museum gives the visitor a [...]
San Pedro de la Roca Castle or, as its known locally, El Morro de Santiago de Cuba, is a similar fortifaction to the El Morro Castle in Havana which was designed primarily as a fortress to protect the harbor mouth against pirates and other unwelcome guests. Designed in 1637 by Giovanni Battista Antonelli, a military engineer from Milan, the Morro was self sustainable due to its large warehouse accessible directly by ships, cut directly into the rock along the flank [...]