- Ciego de Avila
- Isle of Youth
- Las Tunas
- Pinar del Río
- Sancti Spiritus
- Santiago de Cuba
- Villa Clara
- Other Offshore Islands
Founded in 1515 by Diego Velásquez, the city and thus the province of Santiago de Cuba was named after the King of Spain’s patron saint, Santiago de Compostela. This eastern province has some of Cuba’s most rugged terrain, mainly due to the Sierra Maestra mountain range which runs through the province and in which Pico Real del Turquino, the country’s highest point is to be found.
Its main crop production in Santiago de Cuba includes sugar, tobacco and citrus fruits. Coffee plantations are also an important part of Santiago’s economy.
The city of Santiago de Cuba was founded in the foothills of this great mountain range and today is the second largest city on the island. There was a time when Santiago was actually Cuba’s capital city. From early on, Santiago was a very important city to the Spanish, which is why it was initially the capital.
Santiago has a feisty quality about it which makes it stand out in Cuba. It actually has the title of Hero City, granted by the Government due to the great number of Cubans from the region who fought for Cuban independence against spain and who later participated in the revolution’s cause. It is famous for its rebellious history given the fact that it is part of Oriente, the place where the Revolution was born. This independent nature had its influence in Santiago’s particular culture and today is a very interesting melting pot of African, Spanish, French and numerous other nationalities which for one reason or another all ended up in Santiago. Thus the multiculturalism that is so characteristic throughout Cuba as a whole, is especially noticeable here in Santiago.
The remains of Cuban national hero, José Martí, a great literary figure and leader of the second war of independence against Spain in 1895, are buried in Santiago de Cuba, in the Cemetery of Santa Ifigenia.
An ever more popular tourist destination, visitors will certainly feel at home with the warmth and hospitality of the Santiagueros in what is Cuba’s most Caribbean city.