Inside Cuba: Cienfuegos and Santiago De Cuba

Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cienfuegos, Cuba was originally founded in 1819 and has been dubbed the “Pearl of the South”. Sun-drenched streets with arts and craft vendors line the side streets.  Not much has changed in this city since its heyday from the 50’s.  City highlights include noteworthy buildings that were declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.

Cienfuegos street scene

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Row houses line the side streets of Cienfuegos

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The city was settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana, led by Don Louis de Clouet, on April 22, 1819 (Wikipedia).  Neo-classical French architecture is evident throughout the downtown area of Cienfuegos.

Cubans Shopping for eggs and other supplies

Cuban’s shopping for eggs and market supplies from state run stores.

Craft vendors Cienfuegos
Arts and craft vendors line the side streets.

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The main pedestrian boulevard in Cienfuegos where Cuban’s shop for luxury goods and staples.

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Cathedral of Cienfuegos

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Santiago de Cuba

Historically Santiago de Cuba is regarded as the second most important in Cuba after Havana.But most importantly, an excursion to Santiago de Cuba is a must if your interested in the Cuban Revolution. In 1959, Fidel Castro and Che Guevero seized power from the government of President Fulgencio Batista. It was at that point in the early 1960’s that the relationship between the United States and Cuba deteriorated.

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View of Castillo San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, a 16th century UNESCO World Heritage site, from the bay. This structure has guarded Santiago’s harbour for more than 300 years, and is one of the best examples of Spanish military architecture

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Castillo San Pedro de la Roca del Morro 1

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The most famous resident of Castillo San Pedro de la Roca del Morro.

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The historical main square of Santiago de Cuba

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Some of Cuba’s most famous musicians, including Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa (all of whom participated in the Buena Vista Social Club) and trova composer Ñico Saquito (Benito Antonio Fernández Ortiz) were born in this city (Wikipedia)

changing of the guard
The Santa Ifgenia Cemetery is where Cuba’s national hero Jose Marti is buried. A Cuban patriot, freedom fighter, artist and poet, Jose’s dream was to see Cuba free from Spanish control and slavery. He died in one of the first uprisings in 1894 and Cuba finally became independent a few years later after the Spanish and American war of 1898. Marti is highly revered in Cuba. In fact, a military guard is posted at his burial site. The changing of the guards is well worth the wait to see.

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Cuban Rum at Bacardi Factory
The original Bacardí Rum Factory.

If you liked this post you may want to see Inside Cuba: Cuban Life in Guardalavaca and Holguin.

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