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Holguín: The Most Beautiful Land Human Eyes Have Ever Seen

Bariay, in the eastern province of Holguín, was the area where Admiral Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba in his search for a new route to

The Indies. Its magnificent natural environment - with pristine beaches and exuberant vegetation - made the Genoese sailor to describe Bariay as "The most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen".

The province of Holguín has 14 major cities, including Banes - considered Cuba's archeological capital - and Gibara, whose Spanish colonial architecture is well preserved despite the passage of time.

With one of the major ports in eastern Cuba to trade slaves and sugar in the 18th century (Gibara), Holguín also features the ruins of Spanish fortifications that protected its cities from attacks by corsairs and pirates who were attracted by the colony's wealth.

The capital city exhibits its own attractions, which are a true mixture of Spanish architecture, U.S.-style chalets, peripheral traditional neighborhoods and a truly Ibero-American culture.

Also known as the "city of parks", Holguín is a major center of Cuban plastic arts, as well as other cultural manifestations, such as symphonic music, ballet and lyric theater.

As a tribute to the Cuban nation's roots, Holguín hosts the Festival of Ibero-American Culture every year, which is aimed at promoting unity among peoples with a common culture.

Ancient inhabitants can be found everywhere, since the region boasts 40 percent of the Island's archeological potential, with major sites such as Chorro de Maíta - the major aboriginal cemetery in the Antilles - and Bani's Indo-Cuban Museum.

Holguín also means nickel, since it holds one of the world's biggest deposits of that mineral and cobalt, which are processed at plants in Moa and Nicaro, and it has large sugarcane fields as well.

The Holguín's environment is characterized by its diversity and natural beauty. The region has one of the country's biggest bays. Pinares de Mayarí is the habitat par excellence of a true world relic, the royal woodpecker, while the province's rivers are a safe heaven for manatees, considered an endangered species.

Cayo Saetía complements the region's offer with a one-of-a-kind hunting ground, where travelers constantly find protected animals such as deer, wild boars, buffaloes, ostriches, peacocks and wild bulls, among others.

The region also has plenty underground attractions, consisting of huge caverns such as Moa's Gran Tierra (Great Land), which ranks among the biggest caves in the largest Antillean Island.

And, of course, Holguín's Atlantic coast boasts 60 kilometers of beaches, both big and small, many of which can be compared to the most famous beaches in the world because of their crystal-clear waters and beauty.

All these create an attractive cocktail of beauty, beaches, culture and history to meet the expectations of thousands of tourists who visit that territory in eastern Cuba every year.

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