SANTIAGO - Tierra caliente
Santiago de Cuba, Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba, the hot land. “The hot, humid, seismic and black Santiago” [see Danilo Manera “A Cuba”, Einaudi, 2008, p. 146] is one of the most fascinating and less known destination of Cuba. Between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean Sea, closer to Haiti than to Havana, Santiago, since ever has distinguished for two characteristics: exceptional culture and a deep revolutionary soul. Santiago has been capital of Cuba only up to 1607, however there is no doubt that it can still be considered the cultural capital of the Island. But, what is this record own to? First of all, we cannot forget that beside the afro-hispanic fusion that characterizes the whole island, since the beginning of the 18 century, Santiago counted with another precious ingredient: the franco - Haitian influence. In fact, due to the slaves rebellion in Haiti, the creole bourgeoisie there living, emigrated massively towards the close Cuba, bringing its cultural identity, the passion for the Opera, the syncopated rhythms of the “contro danza”, the behavior code as well as French language and literature. This mixture produced original results, especially for the part that concernes music, which in Santiago flows in people’s, buildings’ and streets’ veins. Almost all the musical genders were born in Santiago, which furtherly praises the paternity of the singular rhythm of the “conga”, a sort of massive rumba, characterized by the strong presence of drums and by the alienating sound of the chines trumpet, which is danced in line, with short and syncopated steps that remind the ones of the chained slaves. All in all, the black Santiago smells of France, and it is not a chance, that most of the oriental surnames are of clear french progeny (Borbon, Durruthy, Fabrè, Colombat) or that those who visit Santiago, see reflected in its shadows the beauty of New Orleans. However culture is not the only record that this beautiful city praises. Santiago has in fact been declared “hero city”, due to its perseverance and rebellion since the times of the independence wars. Antonio Maceo, the great general of the independence wars, was born in Santiago, in Santiago took place two of the decisive battles at the end of the second independent war (both in July 1898). In Santiago, in a french creole family, young Fidel Castro received its primary education. The first spark of the socialist revolution shot in Santiago, with the attack to Moncada Quarter, on July 26, 1953, and still in Santiago began the guerrilla which followed the Granma’s landing, on December 2, 1956 and which will end only on January 1st, 1959 when the “barbudos” entered Havana and gave birth to the triumph of the socialist revolution. Santiago is a fascinating city, vibrating and compact, which Habana Dreams is happy to present you, with the help of an exceptional guide: Cele. Prestigious University Professoress, Cele, her dad and her husband has dedicated many years to show to people the beauty and the culture of Santiago. Under their expert and funny guide, you will walk through the up-and-downs streets of the city, you can listen to excellent music and dance with some sly santiaguero, in the Casa del Caribe or in the Patio de los dos Abuelos. You can visit museum dedicated to Emilio Bacardi, business man and creator of the famous ron brand, or walk along Heredia street, to visit the birthplace of the homonymous poet, Jose Maria Heredia. Battles’ and Revolution’s fans can have the opportunity to visit Playa Daiquiri, the Morro and the Moncada Quarter, frames of the above mentioned historical deeds. In the surroundings of the city don’t miss three magical places. Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where the minds of the cuban independence and revolution are buried, Jose Marti and our commander in chief, Fidel Castro Ruz. The Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Copper, dedicated to Virgin of Copper (so called because the Sanctuary rises only few kilometers from a copper mine), whose luminous effigy was found, according to the legend, by three castaways. This Virgin is Cuba protectress and in the Santeria is represented by the beautiful Ochun, goddess of love, of rivers and of gold. Baconao Park, declared by UNESCO world’s heritage site, in which you can admire beautiful landscapes and the marvelous beaches of Juragua, Berreco and Cazonal. Las but not least, for those who wish to have a little relax, we advise three especial places: Finca Porvenir, a country house with swimming pool, the luxury Hotel Melia Santiago and finally the beautiful black beaches of Siboney. “The hot, humid, seismic and black Santiago” is waiting for you and Habana Dreams is looking forward to taking you into this beautiful adventure!
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