Cities of Cuba, full of symbols and traditions
TEXT: PUBLICITUR / PHOTOS: JOSÉ (TITO) MERIÑO AND PUBLICITUR
Cuban cities contain the original charm that made them a vital center of traditions and customs in each region of the archipelago. Each of them hold some of the magic that makes Cuba the attractive island that draws the worlds attention. Many of them, especially the earliest, founded more than five hundred years ago, still preserve the attraction that made them well-known in centuries as far back as the 16th or 18th. Visitors arrive, keen to see marvels and discover new places.
Full of symbols and revelations, Havana is one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the modern world. Nearly half of the vacationers who travel to Cuba each year choose it among their destinations. Established as the capital in 1556, its historical center has buildings of great architectural value and in an excellent state of conservation, in 1982 it was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In addition to nostalgia, Havana offers art, history and entertainment. A day of sun and sea on any of its beaches; an afternoon of classical ballet or a theater performance; a concert of chamber music or perhaps, a night in any of its cultural centers, dancing salsa, are enjoyable experiences.
In the central region, Trinidad, recognized as Cuba’s Museum and World Craft City, boasts one of the most beautiful and best preserved architectural sites in the Americas.
This is why in 1988, its historic center, along with the Valle de los Ingenios and the famous Iznaga Tower, were declared as a World Heritage Site.
The old Villa de la Santísima Trinidad is currently one of the most popular and admired tourist destinations in the country. Its majestic architecture alternates between plazas and little squares surrounded by colorful buildings that show today the affluence that, in past centuries, led to this city’s title as the wealthiest of Cuban towns.
The city of Camagüey, a little beyond the center of the island, is another interesting destination if you are traveling.
It is among the earliest Cuban towns and was founded as Villa de Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe. Camagüey today has the most medieval features of all Cuban cities, because of the layout of its streets: labyrinthine and winding; narrow streets ending in plazas and small squares.
It also has the most extensive historical colonial center in Cuba, made up of buildings of significant architectural and historical-cultural value, among which many Catholic churches predominate. Its historical center has also been part of World Heritage since 2009.
Meanwhile, Baracoa, the first city of Cuba, is distinguished by its natural beauty and its affable locals. It was the first town on the island and also first to have a parish church, still standing, preserving within the Sacred Cross of Parra, one of the 29 planted by Christopher Columbus on American soil during the conquest. Baracoa is not the typical colonial town of large mansions and squares, but it preserves intact the spirit of a provincial town that loves the land. with habits rooted in time, where it is a pleasure to arrive and share. The distinctive features of this region are the coconut and honey sweets; the dishes made with coconut butter and milk and the best coffee in Cuba.
And finally, Santiago de Cuba, a land of interesting historical and musical traditions. It is a heroic city and the birthplace of traditional trova music, famous for its cheerful and charismatic inhabitants. When people in Cuba talk about hospitality, they always think of Santiago, because the fame of its people, attentive and sympathetic with newcomers, has defined it since time immemorial.
Among Santiago’s attractions are the oldest houses in America; two World Heritage Sites: the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca del Morro and the ruins of French coffee plantations; the Basílica del Cobre, where the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint, is worshipped; Baconao Park, a World Biosphere Reserve; and the ashes of leader Fidel Castro rest.
In any of these cities, the stay will be full of emotions. In all of them, Cuba opens up fully to give you the best souvenir of a vacation in the tropics. The passionate traveler will always find, in any of them, a trace of what makes the island authentic: a flavor, a rhythm, a deity, a semicircular arch, a column, a smile.