Cuba, an important tourist destination in the Caribbean, has in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba unique tourist options full of patrimonial values.
Founded in 1514 by Governor Diego Velázquez, the city was the capital of Cuba until 1607, and endured countless disasters from an earthquake in 1675 to predatory actions by corsairs and pirates.
This situation led to the construction of the San Pedro de la Roca del Morro fortress, regarded by experts as one of the greatest defensive constructions built by the Spanish in the so-called New World.
This fortress, together with La Solapa, La Avanzada and La Estrella, make up the defensive system of the bay, considered as the greatest and most complete example of European Renaissance military engineering ever built in the conditions of the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, in the central area of the city the former Plaza de Armas (Arms Square) is located; it is known as Céspedes Park as a tribute to the Father of the Cuban Nation, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
In the surrounding area of the park, visitors can enjoy many examples of the colonial architectural art like the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, built in the 16th century and housing, in its museum halls, a painting on wood regarded by experts as the oldest in Cuba.
The oldest house of the archipelago, belonging to Diego Velázquez, is also located in this area. This house was also the Crown’s Trading and Foundry House, it was built with stones and, up to this date, some of the original elements like the wood ceilings and the Moorish latticework are preserved.
These samples of colonial architecture can also be found on Heredia Street, where visitors have the opportunity to know the best exponents of Cuban music, including son, bolero and a unique trova.
The province is also a place of spirituality and the Sanctuary of the Vírgen de la Caridad del Cobre (Lady of Charity), Cuba's patron saint, is visited by thousands of people who seek hope to make their dreams come true.
Not far from the city, La Gran Piedra, recorded in the Guinness book as the largest rock in the world, stands out. Weighing almost 70,000 tons, it majestically seats about 1,220 meters above sea level.
The name comes from one of the most important geological values in the province of Santiago de Cuba, represented in a huge volcanic rock that is 51 meters long, 25 meters high and 30 meters wide.
Likewise, tourists can also visit the Baconao Park, a biosphere reserve, which holds the stone zoo located in the Prehistory Valley and complemented by the attractions of the Museum of Transportation, the Aquarium, and the Park of Sculptures.