Bayamo (ver mapa), the capital of Cuba's eastern province of Granma, has a nearly five-century-old history, since it was the second village founded by Spanish Governor Diego Velázquez in the archipelago.
Founded in 1513, the village's original name was San Salvador de Bayamo. Its foundation was preceded by that of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa and it was followed by five other major villages during the conquistadors' advance to the west.
The city was the capital of the First Republic in Arms during Cuba's war of independence in the 19th century, and its people decided to burn the village down rather than surrender it to the colonialists.
It was in Bayamo, the birthplace of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, also known as the Homeland's Father, that Cuba's National Anthem, the one that has accompanied Cubans during their wars of independence to date, was composed and sung for the first time.
The rich history that accompanies visitors is complemented by beautiful exponents of Spanish colonial architecture, reflected in the village's buildings and museums, which have overcome the passage of time.
Traditions complement Bayamo's popularity, and many vacationers who visit the city are attracted by a popular song from the 1980s that refers to the custom of traveling the town's winding and narrow streets on horse-drawn carriages.
Bayamo's dwellers, faithful to that tradition, use colonial-style carriages that are built by a movement of artisans who have preserved to date the art of building these kinds of vehicles, respecting their original characteristics.
Nearly five centuries of history have given the city a huge cultural wealth, which attracts those who want to enjoy leisure in that centuries-old city in eastern Cuba.
Visitors can enjoy Cuban musical rhythms, especially those from the eastern region, at Casa de la Trova (Troubadours' House), where the best exponents of Cuban music perform.
Add to all this the attractions of the city's historic heart, where travelers can visit Céspedes' Birth House - where there exists a colonial museum -, the Anthem's Square and Bayamo's Cathedral.
Other historic memories are well kept at the so-called Retablo de los Héroes (Heroes' Retable), in the former Santo Domingo Convent, which was transformed into a theater, and the former garrison, where one of the most important pages of Cuba's history that led to the 1959 revolutionary triumph was written in 1953.
Those who visit the centuries-old village can stay at Villa Bayamo and the hotels Royalton and Carrusel Sierra Maestra, the latter operating under that characteristic brand of Grupo Cubancán for establishments located in city and nature environments.
Bayamo's attractions for the leisure industry prove once again that in addition to sun and beaches, Cuba offers history, culture and traditions, in an excellent mixture that meets the demands of visitors to the city of horse-drawn carriages in the eastern part of the Caribbean Island.