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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Patrimonial Values in the West

Heritage values found space in the city of Matanzas, capital of the western province of the same name, backed by a history that is now coming to 323 years since its founding.

The territory is a true complement to the thousands of visitors who come each year to the famous resort of Varadero, located only a few tens of kilometers from the city.

Emerged in 1693 with the initial name of San Severino and San Carlos, is also known as the Athens of Cuba and even once called the Venice of America -for its rivers, bridges and channels-with a dynamic commercial and cultural activity for the time .

The singular economic prosperity added the name of the American-Naples in the mid-19th century, to reach its current name.

Also, the abundance of steps over water also gave the nickname "city of bridges" with tracks like the old La Concordia, now known as Lacret, or the Calixto Garcia, just to mention a few.

The architectural diversity marks the attractive city environment, with construction jewels as the Sauto Theater, opened in 1863 and designed by Italian Daniel D'Allaglio, later declared National Monument of the island.

Fire Station in the city of Matanzas
Cathedral in the city of Matanzas
City of Matanzas

Plaza de la Vigia, first parade of the aged city, contains in its environment exponents mixed with the historical values of the city, represented in real estate as the Fire Station, the former Customs and the Palacio de Junco, current museum.

Another memories-plagued site in this provincial capital in the Park of La Libertad, emerged around 1800 and center of some of the most important buildings, like the Artistic and Literary Lyceum.

The fame of the site is linked to Cuban culture, as it is precisely there where the national dance known as Danzon appeared for the first time officially in 1879. The site is well located, near the French apothecary and it was transformed into the Pharmaceutical Museum 1964.

It is the only one of its kind in the world and it holds the instruments used at the time to obtain drugs, as well as numerous bottles of hand-decorated porcelain.

On the site, dedicated to the preparation of drugs, are even cookbooks with more than one million original formulas, along with the bronze medal obtained by specialists in the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Art is devoted to the most diverse cultural manifestations, with a large sample of paintings, prints, sculptures, decorative pieces, furniture and other valuable exponents.

Special attention among visitors draw the rooms dedicated to paintings and engravings of Matanzas, corresponding to the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as pieces of universal art from France, England and Netherlands.

The Palacio de Junco, a mansion built in 1838 in a Spanish colonial environment, embraces the Provincial Museum since 1980, where visitors encounter on their way with the lifestyle of the colonial past, the contrast of the Creole owners with slaves who were responsible for producing sugar and coffee.

Underground wonders of the Bellamar Caves, discovered in 1861, the ruins of the Triunvirato sugar mill and the natural touch that brings the River Canimar complement the attractions of the city.

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