Pinar del Río, a land of virgin nature, treasures from aboriginal cultures and the birthplace of tobacco, also has many valuable facilities that can contribute the necessary knowledge of the region's history.
Cuba's westernmost province has a cultural infrastructure consisting of over 60 cinemas, theaters and 20 museums, among which stands out the one dedicated to natural sciences and named Tranquilino Sandalio de Noda.
Its eight halls show visitors singular exponents of the fauna from the region and other parts of the world, making special emphasis on the so-called "trigonias", which are among the oldest fossils in the Cuban archipelago.
Among the samples of fossils stands out that of a plesiosaurus, a huge marine animal that lived million years ago in the waters that covered the area currently occupied by Pinar del Río.
The museum opened 20 years ago at the former Guash Palace, which was named after Dr. Francisco Guash Ferrer, who was in charge of the construction of the building in the second decade of the 20th century. The edifice was donated to Cuban authorities after 1959.
The building is marked by different styles that harmoniously combine an Ionic frieze, a Hindu portico, a Doric capital and an Arab ogive, all of which give the construction a monumental architectural value.
Those who love traditions can visit the Provincial Museum of History, located in a building constructed in 1879 by the Valencian physician Agustín Antón, who used it as his home and office until 1892.
The building was used as the headquarters of the Provincial Government until 1976, when it opened as a museum, whose five permanent halls give visitors a panorama of the aboriginal presence in the region, the history of Cuba's wars of independence and the colonial period, until today.
In one of its halls, dedicated to Pinar del Río's Artists, visitors can appreciate objects linked to the musical career of Enrique Jorrín, who created the popular rhythm known as cha-cha-cha, as well the pictorial work of Pedro Pablo Oliva, Tiburcio Lorenzo and Domingo Ramos, the latter known as the painter of the Viñales Valley.
The Hall of Fine Arts holds a diverse exhibit of crystals, porcelain, pottery, biscuit, furniture and other valuable objects.
Since 1974, a neoclassic house built in the 19th century has housed the "Antonio Guiteras" Museum, dedicated to the life and work of that important Cuban leader from the 1930s.
Pinar del Río, also called the "land of the world's best tobacco", also has a museum on that plant, which shows elements of the cigar culture. A cigar factory operates in the building, which was constructed in 1853 to serve as the city jail.