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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: One and a Half Century in the West

The city of Pinar del Rio, the capital of Cuba's westernmost province, was founded 153 years ago.

Buildings from past centuries still stand majestically in the provincial capital, as are the cases of the Cathedral, built in 1883, or the José Jacinto Milanés Theater, a cultural center from 1838 and built entirely of timber.

According to history, on August 6, 1863, its neighbors made the official application for the title of city, which was granted on September 10, 1867.

This way, the royal decree from Queen Elizabeth II, with which the rank of city was made official, recognized the great progress made by the inhabitants and all Vueltabajo, known internationally for the world's best tobacco.

As an element to highlight, Pinar del Río has several World Biosphere Reserves and national parks, 22 percent of its surface is included in the system of protected areas, adding some 30 areas under protection.

In 1878, the telegraph was installed and in 1893, the electric light service began, while the railway reached the city in January 1894.

Town of Cabañas

Likewise, in the Viñales Valley, holidaymakers can visit Cueva del Indio (the Indian's Cave), which was rediscovered in 1920 and became famous for the discovery of human remains and objects of the ancient inhabitants of the territory, as well as being an option for excursions along the river that go through it to appreciate the rock formations inside.

Large pillars of capriciously shaped rocks named mogotes add a special touch to the valley and one of them, Dos Hermanas, has the so-called Mural of Prehistory, which was painted on one of its slopes and represents the evolution of living beings.

Another of the points of interest for vacationers is in the cave systems located in the territory, the largest in Cuba, including the Santo Tomás Cave, which stands out with a length of 45 kilometers that also make it the third in Latin America.

The cave in this mountainous formation contains important deposits of wealth from the paleontological point of view, with fossils of the already extinct Pleistocene fauna, some of them unique.

The trace of Cuba's first settlers is found in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, the westernmost tip of the island, which was named after the tribes that once settled in that area. Today they were converted into a biosphere reserve and safe refuge for the more varied species of animals.

Closer to the capital, Soroa - also known as the rainbow of Cuba - presents a unique image with a beautiful 22-meter high waterfall that is an invitation to refresh at any time of the year.

The most famous attraction of this site is in the Orchid Garden, which all tourists must visit, with some 1,800 species of these flowers from all over the world.

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