Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba (map) is the second largest city in Cuba. Founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de la Cuéllar in 1514, Santiago de Cuba today covers 1,023.8 sq km (395.3 sq mi) and has a population of 472,000 (2011 estimate).
Visiting Santiago de Cuba
You can fly to Santiago de Cuba from Havana. There are also trains and buses going there from Havana as well as from Camagüey and Santa Clara.
Places of Interest in Santiago de Cuba’s Historic Center
- Balcón de Velázquez
A view point offering fantastic views of the city.
- Calle Heredia
The most popular and probably liveliest street in Santiago de Cuba.
- Casa de Diego Velázquez (Museo de Ambiente Histórico Cubano)
According to some (but disputed by others) this is the oldest private home in Cuba built in 1516 as the residence of governor Diego Velázquez. It has a long and fascinating history where it was used for various purposes. Today it houses a museum on the history of furniture in Cuba.
- Casa Natal de José María Heredia
House where the namesake nationalist poet was born in 1803. The house has been preserved with peirod furniture of the early 19th century.
- Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
This is the cathedral of Santiago de Cuba. Originally built in 1522, it has since been rebuilt a number of times. It has its own museum, the Museo Eclesi´stico, which exhibits Catholic religious objects.
- Museo de la Lucha Clandestina
Once the Batista police headquarters, it was set upon and burnt down by revolutionaries headed by Frank País. Since then, it has been rebuilt, restored, and made a museum to recount the activities of the movement headed by Frank País.
- Museo del Carnaval
Built in the late 18th century, this charming building has served different purposes before being converted in 1983 to explain and celebrate the Santiago Carnival.
- Museo del Ron
Museum celebrating rum, showing how it is distilled and matured.
- Museo Provincial Bacardi Moreau
Founded in 1828, this is the oldest museum in Cuba. It displays relics from the Spanish conquest to the war of independence.
- Parque Céspedes
The central square of Santiago de Cuba, from where the rest of the city radiates.
A charming cosmopolitan neighborhood whose people hailed from various parts of the world.
Places of Interest outside Santiago de Cuba’s Historic Center
- Bosque de los Héroes
Monument to Che Guevara and his comrades-in-arms who died with him in Bolivia.
- Casa Natal de Antonio Maceo
House where Cuba’s great general was born on 14 June, 1845. It today preserves his memorabilia.
- San Pedro de la Roca
Acclaimed as the most complete, best preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, this citadel in Santiago de Cuba is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia
This is the second biggest cemetery in Cuba after the Colón cemetery in Havana. Established in 1868, it is laid out in a Latin cross plan.
- Centro Africano Fernando Ortíz
Center celebrating African cultures with display of musical instruments, figurines and masks.
- Museo Abel Santamaría Cuadrado – Parque Histórico Abel Santamaría
Historic park named after the coup rebel who was captured and killed by police in the failed raid on the Moncada barracks. The area encompasses the barracks, Saturnino Lora hospital and law court buildings.
- Museo Histórico 26 de Julio – Cuartel Moncada
Museum recounting the unsuccessful attack on the Moncada barracks.
- Parque Baconao
Nature site between the Caribbean Sea and the eastern part of the Sierra Maestra, today a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
- Plaza de la Revolución
A large, plain square with the massive statue of General Maceo on horseback.
- Plaza de Marte
Third largest public square in Santiago de Cuba, with a 20 m (65 ft) column commemorating Cuban independence.
- Vista Alegre
Neighborhood of Santiago de Cuba with lovely eclectic-style buildings from the 1920s and 30s.