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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At just over 1234 meters (4000 Feet) above sea level La Gran Piedra in Santiago de Cuba†is accessed by†459 step climb to the “The Big Rock” or, in Spanish, La Gran Piedra. The viewing platform at its peak†guarantees a cooler climate to help you freshen up after the onslaught of step after step. Even though the climb sounds fearful, it takes no more than 20 minutes but, do bring some comfortable shoes along. Legend has it that on a clear [...]
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 [...]
If there's any place in Cuba with significant importance in the country's recent history, it has to be the Moncada Barracks. The Moncada Barracks were an important military stronghold for the Batista government in Santiago de Cuba and, a†historic site†which marked the start of the Cuban revolution. On July 26, 1953, the Moncada Barracks became the site of the now infamous armed attack by a small group of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro and his now president, brother, Raul Castro. [...]
To the west of the Santiago de Cuba center you'll find the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, Cuba's second largest Cemetery after Havana’s Necropolis Cristobal Colon. Founded in 1868 , its primary purpose then was as a resting place for victims of the War of Independence and then the later massive deaths relating to the yellow-fever outbreak in the Caribbean. Cemetery Santa Ifigenia simply cannot be missed if you wish to look into Cuba's interesting past. The Cemeteries +8000 tombs simply pack [...]