Santiago de Cuba

Located on the southern coast of Cuba is Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba. Santiago is the capital of the province of Santiago de Cuba.
In the city are several architectural styles to be found, from Baroque to Neoclassical. Typical of the city are the wooded parks, the steep streets, colonial buildings with balconies and high windows. In Santiago you will find many important historical buildings such as the first house in America, the first cathedral in Cuba and the first Cuban museum.
The center and heart of the city is the Parque Céspedes. At the park are the Cathedral Catedral de la Asuncion, the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) and the house of Diego Velazquez. Catedral de la Asuncion was erected on the spot where in the sixteenth century stood a small church. In the course of history, the building was several times destroyed, rebuilt and restored.
Casa de Diego Velazquez is one of the oldest houses in Santiago (and of Cuba) and dates from the first half of the sixteenth century. In this authentic house the Museo de Ambiente Historico Cubano is now accommodated.
Plaza de la Revolucion is located north of the Parque Céspedes. The attention in this square is drawn by an imposing statue of Antonio Maceo. The General from the end of the nineteenth century there is immortalized with his horse.
Definitely worth to visit is the Museum Emilio Bacardi or the Moncada quarter, in which a museum and a school is located. On the edge of the town is the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca, which is added in 1997 by UNESCO to the World Heritage List.
Santiago was founded by Velazquez in 1515 and is situated in a protected bay. It was the residence of the Spanish governor until the mid-16th century it was moved to Havana. The port was one of the most important places of arrival of many immigrants from Europe.

Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba


Santiago de Cuba is a wonderful cultural city where the Cuban literature, music, architecture, politics and ethnology comes together. The mix of Afro-Caribbean culture and the location reasonably close to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica has given the city its own personal identity. Nowhere else in Cuba is also such a colorful mix of people.
Diego Velázquez made the city his second capital, Fidel Castro used Santiago to launch his Cuban Revolution, Facundo Bacardi first settled here his rum factory and just about every Cuban dance from Salsa to Son found here its origin. Santiago also has many local heroes such as Antonio Maceo (military), José María Heredia (poet), Frank País (revolutionary).
Some famous musicians of Cuba are born in this city or in one of the surrounding villages, including Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa (all members of the Buena Vista Social Club) and the trovacomponist Nico Saquito. They all have delivered a large contribution to the typical music from Santiago.
The Cuban poet, writer and national hero José Martí is buried in the cemetery Cementerio Santa Efigenia.
Moreover, Santiago de Cuba is known for its traditional dances, especially Son, from which later the Salsa and Guaguancó arose. In Santiago de Cuba in July of each year carnival is celebrated. During the carnival, the traditional Conga music is played on a typical pentatonic trumpet (trompeta China).
A large number of residents of Santiago hangs one of the Afro-Cuban religions, particularly Santeria. The city also has a large community of descendants of Haitian immigrants from the 19th century.

History of Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba was founded on June 28 of 1514 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. In 1516 the settlement was destroyed by fire and then rebuilt immediately.
Santiago was in 1518 the starting point of the expeditions to the coast of Mexico, led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernan Cortés. In 1538 the expedition was undertaken from Santiago to Florida, which was led by Hernando de Soto.
The first cathedral in the city was built in 1528. From 1522 to 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba. The city was plundered by French forces in 1553 and again in 1662 by the British forces led by Christopher Myngs.
The city experienced an influx of French immigrants in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Many of them came from Haiti to Santiago after the Haitian slave rebellion in 1791. This added to the city a cultural mix that was already rich with influences from Spanish and African culture.
Santiago was also the place where the Spanish troops on 1 st of July in 1898 suffered their great defeat at San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Spain later surrendered to the United States after the destruction of its Atlantic fleet just outside the port of Santiago de Cuba.
On 26 July of 1953, at the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, in Santiago the attack of a group of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro took place on the Moncada barracks, just outside the city. The attack failed, but that it was the foundation for the revolution which came to an end in December 1958 in Santa Clara. From the balcony of the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) in Santiago de Cuba, Fidel Castro announced on 1 January 1959 the victory of the Cuban Revolution.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Cobre

The city of El Cobre is about twenty kilometers from Santiago de Cuba. It is a very important place of pilgrimage. Every year thousands of devotees visit the Sanctuario Nacional a Nuestra Senora de Caridad del Cobre. This basilica preserves the authentic image of the Black Virgin. La Virgen is also, since 1916, the patroness of Cuba. Catholic Cubans celebrate annually on 8 of September the day of Nuestra Senora.

Castillo del Morro

El Castillo del Morro (San Pedro de la Roca) is an imposing fortress built by the Spaniards during the second half of the seventeenth century. With this fortified building the Spaniards wanted to guard and protect the strategic bay. This restored fortress is located at the entrance of the Bahia de Santiago de Cuba. On top of the fort, which is sixty feet above the Caribbean sea, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the bay. The complex now houses a pirate museum (Museo de la Pirateria).

Sightseeings of Santiago de Cuba

  1. The Parque Céspedes surrounded by several important historical buildings like the Catedral de la Asuncion, Casa de Diego Velazquez and the Ayuntamiento.
  2. Museo de Ambiente Historico Cubano, located in Casa de Diego Velazquez, home of the Spanish conqueror and governor of Cuba.
  3. Plaza de la Revolucion.
  4. Museum of Emilio Bacardi.
  5. The Moncada barracks.
  6. Basilica Nuestra Senora del Cobre.
  7. Castillo del Morro or the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca, at the beginning of the Bay of Santiago de Cuba.

More information about Santiago de Cuba

  1. City map of Santiago de Cuba
  2. Weather in Santiago de Cuba
  3. Find a casa particular in Santiago de Cuba
  4. Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
  5. Photo Santiago de Cuba