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San Juan Hill: A Place Full of History

Foreign vacationers looking for sunbathing, beaches, culture and nature in their peregrination throughout Cuba can complement their attraction to the Caribbean Island with its five-century history.

The country treasures precious traditions and events that every year attract thousands of visitors interested in the past and present of the nation.

Wars that left a deep imprint in their epoch - such as La Demajagua uprising and the battle commanded by Spanish Admiral Cervera - are among the events closely followed by foreign visitors.

This atmosphere surrounds the tradition of the Tree of Peace, a symbol in eastern Santiago de Cuba province that marks the place where the Spanish colonial troops surrendered to the US expeditionary forces in July 1898.

Memories from that period are reflected today at the San Juan Hill Historic-Military Park, on top of the hills that close the access from the east to Santiago de Cuba.

The scenario of the final battle in the so-called Spanish-Cuban-American War more than a century ago, the San Juan Hill is also a reminder of the humiliation that represented the US troops' refusal to allow the Cuban independent forces to enter the city.

San Juan Hill. Museum of Spanish-Cuba-American War
San Juan Hill. Museum of Spanish-Cuba-American War.
Museum of Spanish-Cuba-American War. Fort

The 100-year-old ceiba known as the Tree of Peace fell defeated by the implacable passage of time, but its ruins still attract thousands of visitors who take shelter under the shadows of other trees.

The defense and communication facilities built by the Spaniards on the San Juan Hill, with its forts and loopholes, remain in perfect condition, as if ready to wage a new battle despite their old age.

A few meters away, visitors can take pictures of infantry cannons, including a piece of artillery that belonged to a Spanish ship.

The San Juan Hill also holds some sculptures, one of which represents a US soldier wearing his uniform and carrying the weapons of the epoch, while another portrays the Cubans combatants with their classic uniform of "mambí" (the name given to the members of the Cuban Liberation Army).

A little farther, a monument to honor the courage of the Spanish soldiers is a reminder of the third participant in the war.

At a short distance from the park, vacationers can enjoy the facilities of the three-star Horizontes San Juan Hotel, whose architecture reminds the Caribbean traditions of the city.

The hotel has 107 rooms, including five triple rooms, as well as two restaurants, a cafeteria, swimming pool, commercial center, money exchange, messenger service and car rentals.

Dominated by yesterday's commotion and horror, today's historic-military park is an essential element in the traditions of the Cuban archipelago, a clear reminder of a past that has been preserved for future generations.

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