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The so-called “Capital of the Caribbean” and “Hero City” is the second in importance of Cuba.

Capital city of the province and municipality with the same name, second most important city of the country, it is located to the south of the province and to the east of the harbour of Santiago de Cuba.

It is one of the first seven villages founded by Diego Velazquez during the conquest and colonization period. Since 1515 it becomes the capital of the island due to its proximity to the Santo Domingo Viceroyalty and Court and its wide and sheltered harbour, favourable for moving merchandise and for the departure of expeditions to conquer what would later become the Spanish Empire.

Its first economic activity was the gold mining, but after it became exhausted, they subsisted on the exploitation of the copper mines in Santiago del Prado –current town of El Cobre -, and on cattle raising.

Santiago also has traces of the French immigrants from the 19th century. From them we inherited the coffee harvest at the mountains, the Tivoli Theatre, and even the sound of piano (it is said that this instrument was heard for the first time in that place).

The layout of the city is irregular, with steep streets and alleys toward the ancient parts of the city. Its arteries are full of buildings of high architectural value like the Cathedral, the Elvira Cape Library, the Emilio Bacardí Moreau Museum, that coexist with the Moncada Garrison, place chosen and attacked by Fidel Castro and a group of revolutionary youngsters after leaving Siboney Farm on July 26th 1953, marking a turning point in the beginning of the insurrectional fight against the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista.

The vicinity is complemented by a cathedral of neoclassic façade, the prestigious University of Oriente, and the sanctuary of El Cobre (only 12 kilometres from downtown), place for pilgrimages and offerings to the Virgin of the Charity of El Cobre, Patron Saint of the island.

This Eastern region is also called the “Land of Son” , which is the Cuban musical genre for all times. Santiago de Cuba is famous for the hospitality of its inhabitants, for its happiness, for the abundance of its good dancers, and for its intense sun and heat.


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