Bacardi and Migs
Santiago de Cuba Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
This morning we take a walking tour of Santiago city, taking in the Plaza de la Revolucion with its Soviet syle monument to the heroes of the Independence wars and the cemetery where independence hero JosÃ© MartÃ is buried.
This afternoon I go and have a look at the House of the Bacardi family on the way to the museum they founded. The family were no friends of the revolution so it is ironic that the house is now a communist youth league centre and has a Mig fighter jet parked in the garden
We also go and see the Castillo de San Pedro del Morro, one of the best-preserved fortresses in the Cuba. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this superb 17th century citadel occupies a dramatic position overlooking the city and the Caribbean, from where you can get some superb views across the harbour and onto the distant peaks of the Sierra Maestra.
Santiago rose to prominence during the 17th and 18th centuries, with first the arrival of Spanish settlers from Jamaica, then French plantation owners from Haiti. The region saw much of the fighting of both wars for independence and it was in Santiago that success against Batista’s forces was finally, and very publicly, acknowledged by Fidel Castro on January 1st 1959. Little wonder then that the city has earned itself the moniker of ‘Hero City of the Republic of Cuba’. The city itself is an eclectic mix of all the best and worst of Cuban life. Its colonial architecture glimmers in attractive shades of pastel, whilst its Afro- Caribbean mix affords it the unmistakable vibrancy of a true city of the revolution.
This evening we take the opportunity to explore something of Santiago’s dazzling nightlife, experiencing some of the colour, music and raw charm of this remarkable of city.