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Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is a fiercely independent city known as the epicentre of many historical turning points and cultural movements in Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is Cuba’s second largest city. British Travel Journalist Claire Boobbyer characterises Santiago de Cuba as “vibrant, tropical, and often sweltering (…) Cuba’s liveliest cultural showpiece outside of Havana”.

Maceo, one of the many sons of Santiago de Cuba, is revered locally as the man that sums up Cuban character: fiercely independent, resilient, and patriotic
Maceo, one of the many sons of Santiago de Cuba, is revered locally as the man that sums up Cuban character: fiercely independent, resilient, and patriotic

Santiago de Cuba is a fiercely independent city known as the epicentre of many of the historical turning points and cultural movements that make of Cuba such a fascinating place to visit, including:

The first slave uprisings in Cuba, and a prominent role in the wars for the independence of Cuba from Spanish colonial domination.

Santiago is popularly known as the birthplace of the Cuban son, a precursor of modern genres like salsa, and of the typical Cuban trova.

The first direct military intervention of the US in Cuba. The bay of Santiago de Cuba was the theatre of operations for the naval battle between US and Spanish forces at the end of the wars of independence from Spain. A battle that proved crucial in the defeat of the Spanish army and their withdrawal from Cuba, leading to the constitution of a post-colonial, US-controlled republic that lasted until 1959.

The first major military action led by Fidel Castro (the assault of the Moncada Barracks) that culminated a few years later with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Santiago de Cuba is known among Cubans as the cradle of the Revolution.

Santiago de Cuba is closer to Haiti than to Havana. The city shows strong Caribbean features, perhaps more than anywhere else in Cuba. Haitian immigration escaping conflicts in the neighbouring island settled here and contributed significantly to the strong Afro-Cuban feel that makes Santiago such a unique Cuban city.

From music to traditions and religious practices Santiago de Cuba is quintessentially Afro-Cuban. And the lingering Spanish and Latin influences make for a very interesting, energising mix.

Santiago de Cuba is the final resting place of Jose Marti, known to Cubans as the “National Hero”, a 19th century poet and writer precursor or libertarian ideals that lead to the wars of independence from Spain, and organiser of the Cuban political party that brought together the divided forces fighting for independence from Spain. It is also the final resting place of Fidel Castro.

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