Caribbean Tourism

Holguín

Holguín, (pop: 250,000) was founded in 1545. It is known as the ‘city of the parks’, four of which, Parque Infantil, Parque Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Plaza Central and Parque José Martí, lie between the two main streets: Antonio Maceo and Libertad (Manduley).


There is a statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in the park named after him: he is remembered for having freed his slaves on 10 October 1868 and starting the war of independence.

The Plaza Central is named after General Calixto García Iñiguez (statue in the centre), who was born in Holguín in 1837 and took part in both wars of independence. He captured the town from the Spanish in 1872 and again occupied it in 1898 after helping the US forces defeat the colonial power in Santiago de Cuba. His birthplace on Calle Miró 147, one block from the plaza, is now a museum, Casa Natal de Calixto García. Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Sat 0800-1300, US$1. On the north side of the square is the Museo Provincial, built between 1860-1868 and now a National Monument. The most important item on display here is the Hacha de Holguín, a precolumbian axe head carved with the head of a man, found in 1860 on one of the hills around the city and believed to be about 500 years old. It has become the symbol of Holguín. Mon-Fri 0900-1700, Sat 0900-1300, US$1, US$3 with camera.

Above the city is La Loma de la Cruz, a strategic hill which used to have a cross on top until Hurricane Georges blew it down in 1998. On 3 May 1790, a Franciscan priest, Antonio de Alegría, came with a group of religious people and put up the cross. In 1929 stone steps were begun up the hill, which were finished 3 May 1950. Every 3 May locals celebrate the Romerías de la Cruz de Mayo. They light candles and offer coins.

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