SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Exploring the province
Due to its exceptional geographical conditions, Santiago de Cuba was the first capital of the Greater Antilles. The Conqueror himself Hernán Cortés was the first mayor of the city and for his bay entered the country the first black slaves from the African region that served as labor force and as Labor of the earliest constructions of the time Colonial. Nowadays, it is the second most important province in Cuba, after the capital (Havana), due to its economic development and its population density.
The Bay of Santiago is connected to the Caribbean Sea and is an important port for international trade. In fact, the city has grown over the years around it. On the mainland, it is surrounded by the Sierra Maestra, the most important mountain group in Cuba, which determines the warm and humid climate that predominates in the place. The city is exceptionally beautiful because of its combination of hilly, urban and marine landscape, articulated through countless slopes that make the avenues, even the busiest, extremely irregular.
In addition to its exotic nature, the city played such an important role in the struggle for the independence of the country that is known as the Hero City of Cuba. The Catholic Church of the province was the first seat of the archdiocese on the island, a title that it preserves today. For its privileged position, Santiago was for years the territory that accommodated all those who lose in the Caribbean Sea, from the refugees of Haiti to the settlers of Lusitania. Then, Catalans, Jamaicans and Chinese also began to arrive. Santiago de Cuba, because of this, is the city of greatest crossbreeding of the island, and this crossbreeding has been precisely what has defined Cuban nationality.
Due to its early and constant development, in the city coexist several architectural styles, from colonial Classic to Baroque and pure rationalism, through Art deco. In addition to the city of Greater crossbreeding, it is also the most eclectic, so the large number of visitors who each year host the Santiago in their homes of rent are taking to their countries the most exotic image of the island. Santiago is the place where important musical genres were born that became what we now know as Cuban popular music, as is the case of son, Bolero and traditional trova. It is the city of the country that most fervently externalize the idiosyncrasy of the people and combines the cultural values that characterize the Cubans, which makes it one of the most attractive cities for tourism on the island.
Among the popular festivities, the most notable are the Santiaguero carnival and the Fire party, considered the best mass celebrations in the country. Since the late 1990s, several of the sites within its territory have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
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