Santiago de Cuba - City

Castillo del Morro Castillo San Pedro de la Roca, El Morro. Santiago de Cuba

The Spanish fortress known as El Morro, south of Santiago, was constructed between 1638 and 1700 and was designed by Giovanni Antonelli, the Italian architect and engineer responsible for fortresses bearing the same name in both Havana and San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Morro was built to ward off pirates (and rebuilt after a 1662 attack by the English pirate Henry Morgan). Today, its solid walls house the Museum of Piracy, its rooms also reflects the main events connected with the naval battle of Santiago de Cuba, episode of the Spanish-Cuban-American in 1898 and photographs related to the events of Maine , the Spanish and U.S. military leaders, Admiral Pascual Cervera and Vice Admiral Sampson and planes and coastal defenses and batteries of El Morro. There are wonderful views from interior rooms, which have wooden floors and stone walls, as well as from various terraces.

Casa Natal de José María Heredia Calle Heredia No. 260, Santiago de Cuba

This Spanish-colonial mansion was the birthplace of poet José María Heredia, who, because of his pro-independence writings, is considered Cuba's first national poet. Heredia died in 1839 at age 36 while exiled in Mexico. The house, now just a fraction of its original size, displays period furniture and some of the poet's works and belongings. The home's traditional interior patio is planted with trees and plants—including orange, myrtle, palm, and jasmine—associated with Heredia's verse. A marble plaque on the house's Calle Heredia facade excerpts one of the poet's most famous works, "Niágara".

Casa de Diego Velázquez Calle Félix Peña (Santo Tomás) No. 612 e/ Aguilera y Heredia, Santiago de Cuba

Constructed in 1516, this structure is reputed to be Cuba's oldest house one of the oldest in the Americas, although many historians now doubt that claim. Noticeable for its black-slatted balconies, it is one of Santiago's top attractions. Diego Velázquez, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city and was the island's first governor, lived upstairs. At the moment this old house works as Cuban Historical Colonial Environment's Museum, its rooms overflow with period furniture and carved woodwork and encircle­ two lovely courtyards. Inside you'll find period beds, desks, chests, and other furniture. On the first floor is a gold foundry. Memorable are the star-shape Moorish carvings on the wooden windows and balconies, and the original interior patio with its well and rain-collecting tinajón vessel. An adjacent house is filled with antiques intended to convey the French and English decorative and architectural influences—such as the radial stained glass above the courtyard doors—in the late 19th-century.

Calle Padre Pico Santa Rita a Hospital, Santiago de Cuba

This is undoubtedly one of the city's most well-known streets. It offers an excellent natural viewing point and is the only stepped street in Cuba. It's part of the Tivoli neighborhood, where 18th-century French-colonial mansions sit side by side with 16th-century structures

Basilica del Cobre Carretera Central, Santiago de Cuba

The Basilica of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the Patron Saint of Cuba, can be found 27 km from the city centre, in a mining town founded in 1830. The Basilica stands on a gentle hill and contains display cases with items such as the medal received by the writer Ernest Hemingway on being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. The story of the Virgin dates from the early 1600s, when three men in a boat first saw her floating on water during a storm; tradition holds that the Virgin saved the men from certain drowning. Records show that the statue was most likely brought from Spain on order of the then-governor of Cuba, but don't play iconoclast with the millions of faithful who take seriously the Virgin's reputed miraculous powers. Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre was crowned by Pope John Paul II in 1998, during his visit to Cuba. Every 8th of September, her feast day, thousands of pilgrims come here to give thanks and beg favours of the blessed virgin.

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