Matanzas celebrates its 327th birthday
By Coco Simpson
October 12 is a date of celebration for the people of Matanzas, since that day, in 1693, the former Villa de San Carlos and San Severino de Matanzas was founded.
Crossed by three rivers -Canímar, San Juan and Yumurí- it has been dubbed the ‘City of Bridges’ due to the amount of these civil engineering works that have been built to facilitate access to the urban fabric.
It is also known as the ‘Athens of Cuba’ for its buildings, heirs to the aesthetic canons of the neoclassical style, typical of Ancient Greece. They date from the 19th century and are preserved in such a way that they make this city a historic and patrimonial jewel, more than 3 centuries old.
Also the nickname of ‘Athens of Cuba’ is related to the artistic and cultural life for which is famous the City of Matanzas, cradle of important musicians, poets and dance genres.
Land where violinist José White was born, poets Bonifacio Byrne and José Jacinto Milanés, and the Danzón, national dance of Cuba, pride of Matanzas. Other illustrious children have been the musician Dámaso Pérez Prado, poet Carilda Oliver Labra, baseball player Martín Dihigo and many more.
Matanzas treasures the largest wetland in the insular Caribbean, the Ciénaga de Zapata, the most visited resort by national and foreign tourists, Varadero, as well as the oldest geological attraction in the country which are the Caves of Bellamar and Palmar del Junco, the first baseball park in the country and the first drug store turned into a museum.
Its Sauto Theater, the José White concert hall, the musical groups Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and the Orquesta Faílde, are other prides of Cubans in general, and Matanzas people in particular.
The Failde orchestra keeps alive the legacy of the creator of the danzón, Miguel Faílde, has recently been nominated to the Grammy Awards; without a doubt, an achievement for danzon lovers and a gift at the height of the 327th anniversary of their hometown.