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Bayamo: Five Centuries in Eastern Cuba

The eastern Cuban province of Granma holds cities and towns of major historic relevance, including Bayamo, which is over 500 years old.

The city, which is the provincial capital, was the second village founded by Spanish Governor Diego Velázquez in Cuba.

San Salvador de Bayamo was the original name of the city, founded in 1513. It was preceded by Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa and followed by five major villages during the Spanish conquistadors' advance westwards.

The village was a major political center in Cuba, as it had gold foundries and a major supplier to guarantee the conquest of the rest of the Caribbean island.

The name Bayamo has two possible origins, one of which is the name of a local cacique who led the region.

The second variant considers the existence of the Bayamo tree, which was native to the region and was considered the tree of wisdom and it was leafy and shady.

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

In addition, Bayamo was the capital of the First Republic in Arms during the war of independence in the 19th century, and its residents decided to set the village on fire instead of surrender to the Spanish rule.

Bayamo also boast unique elements, as the city held the first outdoors cemetery in Cuba and possibly in Latin America.

Moreover, the Great Parochial Church of San Salvador de Bayamo, which was partially destroyed by the 1869 fire and was rebuilt, is the only religious temple in Cuba that has a mural with patriotic content inside.

The church was the scenario of the first rebel actions for Cuba's independence and the National Anthem was sung for the first time in that church.

Bayamo is full of traditions and many tourists who visit the city are encouraged by a popular song from the 1980s that refers to the custom of touring the village's winding and narrow streets on horse-drawn coaches, which are made by artisans who followed the techniques used centuries ago.

Cuban musical rhythms, especially those that predominate in eastern Cuba, are available to visitors at Casa de la Trova, where the best singer songwriters play and sing their songs.

Bayamo's Historic Heart holds the birth house of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, which is currently the Colonial Museum, the Anthem Square and the Cathedral.

Other historic sites in Bayamo are the so-called Tableau of the Heroes, formerly known as the Convent of Santo Domingo and turned into a theater, and the former military garrison.

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