Historically Santiago de Cuba has long been the second most important city on the island after Havana, and still remains the second largest. It is on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and is an important sea port. In 2004 the city of Santiago de Cuba had a population of about 494,337 people.
Santiago was also the home of the revolutionary hero, Frank País. On July 26, 1953, the Cuban Revolution began with an ill-prepared armed attack on the Moncada Barracks by a small contingent of rebels led by Fidel Castro. Shortly after this disastrous incident, País began talking with students and young working people informally, drawing around him what became an extremely effective urban revolutionary alliance. This developed into highly organized cells coordinating a large scale urban resistance that became instrumental in the success of the Cuban Revolution.
País’ group prepared carefully, accruing weapons, collecting money, collecting medical supplies. They published a cheap newsletter that reported news that criticized the government, attempting to counter Batista’s censorship.
In the summer of 1955, País’ organization merged with Castro’s July 26 Movement. País became the leader of the new organization in Oriente province.
On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Cuban Revolution from a balcony on Santiago de Cuba’s city hall.
Santiago de Cuba was the hometown of poet José María Heredia. It houses a museum that displays the extensive art collection of the Bacardí family.
Santiago de Cuba is well known for its cultural life. 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 the city or in one of the villages surrounding it. They have contributed to the typical, country-like music of the city.
Furthermore, Santiago de Cuba is well-known for its traditional dances, most notably son, from which salsa has been derived, and guaguancó, which is accompanied by percussion music only. The city is also well-known for its Carnival, which is strangely enough celebrated in July. During Carnival, traditional conga music is played in the streets on a traditional pentatonic trumpet, called the trompeta china.
A relatively high number of residents of the city adhere to Afro-Cuban religions, most notably santería. The city hosts an important community of descendants from Haitian immigrants from the 19th century. Some aspects of the religious “vodún” heritage of the city can be traced back to this community.
In the city there are multiple architectural styles, from Baroque to neoclassical. Of special interest are the wooded parks, the steep streets, colonial buildings with huge windows and crowded balconies. Preserved historical treasures include the first home in the Americas, the first cathedral in Cuba, the first copper mine opened in the Americas and the first Cuban museum.
The local citadel of San Pedro de la Roca is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles
The Baconao Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve List in 1987
Holguin is one of the provinces of Cuba, the third most populous after Ciudad de la Habana and Santiago de Cuba. It lies in the northeast of the country. Its major cities include Holguín (the capital), Banes, Antilla, Mayarí, and Moa.
The province has a population of slightly over one million people. Its territory exceeds 9,300 km2 (3,600 sq mi), 25 percent of which are covered by forest.
Cayo Saetia is an island formed artificially at the beginning of the XX century when cutting the Entrecascos peninsula for a channel of some 100m of longitude built to unite the bays of Levisa and Cabonico with the purpose of facilitating the sailing between both points. It is located in the Nipe Bay, in the North coast of Cuba, it belongs to the Mayarí municipality in the oriental province of Holguín. For their natural securities this area has been incorporate to the National System of Protected Areas of Cuba with the Natural Park category. The access to Cayo Saetia is carried out for the marine, air road (using a helicopter) or simply in a means of terrestrial transport through the small drawbridge that unites it with the main island.
Cayo Saetia is an uninhabited place that even conserves its wild environment in an almost virgin state that offers the unique opportunity to carry out a safari among the forest under a conception of Natural Park.
It possesses 12 almost virgin beaches and a sea that it seems a peaceful lagoon where the surf is hardly a caress. You laud lovers of the diving they can enjoy an extensive coralline barrier that skirts the coast of the Key.
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