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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba Bets on Tourism

The Cuban archipelago is full of natural, historic and cultural attractions that are complemented by the architectural wealth of cities nationwide.

In Cuba, traditional sun and beach options are combined with urban tourism, thanks to the legacy from several centuries.

Havana, formerly known as Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana, is one of the best exponents of Spanish-colonial architecture in Cuba. Havana's notoriety dates back to the 16th century.

Havana's historic heart, declared Humankind's Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), holds most of the city's museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings from the Spanish colonial period. Old Havana covers an area of 4.5 square kilometers and has a rich colonial architecture and centuries-old customs and traditions.

Old Havana holds most of the city's museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings from the Spanish colonial period, including 33,000 buildings, most of which were built from the 18th to the 19th centuries.

In central Cuba, Cienfuegos offers a score of libraries, 11 museums, more than 30 movie halls and five theaters, in addition to houses of culture, art galleries and monuments, are visited by both national and foreign tourists every year.

Valle Palace, Cienfuegos
Valle Palace, Cienfuegos
Martí Park, Cienfuegos

Among the city's many attractions is the José Martí Park, built on the site where the village of Fernandina de Sagua was founded in April 1819. Surrounding the park are the only Arc of Triumph in Cuba, built in 1902, and the Tomás Terry Theater, one of Cuba's three major theaters in the 19th century, where prominent artists such as Enrico Caruso performed.

In Cuba's easternmost province, Guantánamo, is the village of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa, founded in 1511-12 by Governor Diego Velázquez, and the first capital and first bishopric in Cuba.

In the east is Santiago de Cuba, which is the country's second major city and is considered the capital of the Caribbean, due to its privileged location and centuries-old history.

Downtown Santiago, where there is a myriad of museums, is the former Arms Square, which is currently known as the Céspedes Park, in honor of the Father of the Homeland, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

In addition, protected areas, biosphere reserves, wetlands and regions inhabited by endemic flora and fauna, which can be watched in all their magnitude, are at everybody's reach along specialized trails created for nature enthusiasts.

At the same time, several health institutions and resorts near sources of medicinal waters provide specialized medical treatments for those who wish to take care of their health while enjoying their vacations.

As a complement, traditions, history and culture, which are part of Cuban nationality, are mixed with the cultures of the aboriginal people, black slaves brought from Africa and Spaniards who arrived in Cuba during the colonial period.

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