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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Alone with History

Cuba's historic, cultural and traditional values are major complements to the country's tourist and natural attractions.

That is the case of the city of Matanzas, the capital of the western province of the same name, which was founded 324 years ago and holds a rich cultural and historic wealth.

The city's historic heart is the second largest in Cuba, with prominent public spaces and edifices, including the French pharmacy Triolet, one of the best-preserved buildings from the 19th century.

In that regard, architectural diversity marks the environment of the attractive city, which holds treasures like the Sauto Theater, a National Monument, which was inaugurated in 1863 and was designed by the Italian architect Daniel D'Allaglio.

In addition, Plaza de la Vigia, the first arms square in the city, is surrounded by unique exponents of the city's history, represented by buildings like the Firefighters' Station, the old Customs Office and the Junco Palace, which is currently a museum.

Another historic site in the provincial capital is Parque de la Libertad (Liberty Park), which was built in 1800 and is surrounded by major buildings like the Artistic and Literary Lyceum.

Bellamar Cave
Bellamar Cave
Bellamar Cave

The Lyceum's fame is closely linked to Cuban culture, as it was precisely there where the national dance known as danzón was officially presented in 1879.

The western city of San Carlos y San Severino de Matanzas was founded on Cuba's north coast on October 12, 1693, by 30 families from the Canary Islands.

Matanzas borders a bay that is 100 kilometers east of Havana, in an area of flat ground whose highest elevation is Pan de Matanzas, whose peak is 389 meters above sea level.

Due to the many rivers that go through the city, Matanzas is also known as "the city of bridges", including Lacret, formerly known as La Concordia, or Calixto Garcia, El Giratorio and Canimar, just to mention some.

On February 17, 1860, at the inauguration of the Artistic and Literary Lyceum, its director, Rafael del Villar, called Matanzas the Athens of Cuba to compare it with the Greek city during Pericles' 5th century, due to its high cultural development.

Visitors to Matanzas stop at the famous Monserrate Chapel, which was inaugurated in 1875 and was a sign of the economic power achieved by the local Catalonian community.

The Yumuri Valley, west of the city, formed by the rivers Yumuri and Bacunayagua and surrounded by low hills, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Cuba.

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