Exploring Matanzas City
The municipality of Matanzas city in the province of the same name in Cuba is for some the municipality of waters, and for others the municipality of bridges, because waters and bridges cross it, bathe it, limit it and unite it.
The Yumurí Valley and the Bacunayagua Canyon are very attractive due to the beauty of their landscapes, the Bellamar Caves with crystalline formations of exceptional beauty, as well as the attractive surroundings of the city and its intense cultural activity, for which the Athens of Cuba has been considered, where the Sauto Theater, National Monument, stands out.
There are different versions of the life of Luis Pérez Orozco. Father Bartolomé de las Casas refers in his chronicles that in 1509 in Guanimar Bay the aborigines attacked a group of Spaniards who were sailing in that area. Bernal Díaz del Castillo even remembers the names of three of the survivors of that attack. In memory of that event, in 1513 the cove of Guanimar adopted the name of Matanzas city and when the city was founded on October 12, 1693 it was called San Carlos and San Severino de Matanzas.
For its cultural and literary development, Matanzas city is also known as “the Athens of Cuba”. This development began in 1813, when the Yumurina city received the benefits of the introduction of printing. It is considered that this year begins the Golden Age of Matanzas city. Those were the times when José María Heredia wrote verses and theatrical essays.
- Pharmaceutical Museum – established in 1882
- Provincial Historical Museum of Matanzas city – Provincial
- Sauto Theater – Inaugurated in 1863, the theater houses plays, opera, ballet and symphonic concerts. It is a National Monument of Cuba.
- San Carlos De Borromeo Cathedral
- Near the caves of Bellamar, also National Monument of Cuba.
- Boat trips on the Canimar River
- Bridges of Matanzas city
- Casino Español – In process of restoration (May 2008).
- Matanzas Secondary School (Palm Coast)
- Necropolis of San Carlos Borromeo
- Quinta de Bellamar, heritage house and church
- Castle of San Severino
- Workshop-Gallery Lolo
- Church of Monserrate
- Calixto García Bridge
- Junco Palace Museum
- Plaza de la Vigía (Vigía Square)
- Libertad Park
- Church of San Pedro Apóstol
The defining symbol of the city according to Mexican painter (and admirer) Diego Rivera, the Teatro Sauto (1863) on Plaza de la Vigía’s south side is one of Cuba’s finest theaters and famous for its superb acoustics. The lobby is graced by marble Greek goddesses and the ceiling in the main hall bears paintings of the muses.
Imagine. You’re tramping through Matanzas city tatty streets wondering whether the ‘Athens of Cuba’ moniker is just a local joke when you stumble upon this industrious artist’s collective down by the river, guarded by epic surreal sculptures seemingly made out of bits of a salvaged ship. Inside you plunge, for plenty more artistic apparitions from the cutting edge of Matanzas’ cultural custodians.
Plaza de la Vigía
The original Plaza de Armas still remains as Plaza de la Vigía (literally ‘lookout place’), a reference to the threat from piracy and smuggling that Matanzas city first settlers faced. This diminutive square was where Matanzas was founded in the late 17th century and numerous iconic historical buildings still stand guard.