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Bayamo: Five Centuries of History

Five centuries of history concentrate in the city of Bayamo, the current capital of the eastern province of Granma and the second village founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez in Cuba.

Founded in 1513 as San Salvador de Bayamo, it was only second to Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa and was followed by five other major cities during the Spaniards' advance westward.

The city is also prominent because it was the capital of the First Republic in Arms during the war for independence in the 19th century, when its inhabitants decided to burn it instead of surrendering it to the Spanish colonialists.

Bayamo is the birthplace of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, known as the Father of the Homeland, and the place where Cuba's National Anthem, which accompanied Cubans during the war for independence until today, was composed.

The valuable history accompanying visitors to Bayamo is complemented by the city's Spanish colonial architecture, present in its buildings and museums, which are still standing, despite the passage of time.

Traditions support Bayamo's popularity, and many tourists who travel to the city are motivated by a popular song from the 1980s, which refers to the local custom of traveling its winding and narrow streets on a horse-drawn carriage.

Bayamo`s Church
Carrusel Sierra Maestra Hotel. Entrance
City of Bayamo

People in Bayamo, loyal to that custom, use replicas of old horse-drawn carriages from the Spanish colonial period, thanks to a movement of artisans who build those kinds of vehicles respecting the characteristics of their original conception.

Bayamo's 500 years of existence also hold a rich culture, which attracts those who bet on that eastern Cuban city to spend their leisure time.

It is worth noting that Granma province holds 48 percent of all historic sites in Cuba, including Bayamo, which was declared a National Monument.

In addition, history is also present in the so-called Retablo de los Héroes (Heroes' Retable), the former Convent of Santo Domingo (turned into a theater) and the former garrison, where a piece of history from the last period of struggle that concluded in 1959 was written in 1953.

Bayamo's tourist offers prove again that Cuba is more than sun and beaches, it is also history, culture and traditions that make an excellent combination for those who want to spend their vacations in the city.

Also in eastern Cuba, Santiago de Cuba treasures centuries-old memories, including its defense system, which is considered the largest exponent of European Renaissance military engineering in the Caribbean region and it is made up of the castles of San Pedro de La Roca and La Estrella, and La Socapa battery.

In Villa Clara, the singular touch comes from San Juan de los Remedios, the eighth village founded by the Spanish conquistadors in Cuba in the 16th century.

In Sancti Spíritus, the formerly-known Villa de la Santísima Trinidad, founded in 1514, stands out among the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba.

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