Robaina's plantation

Thursday 21 January 2016

Santa Clara (Villa Clara Province)

                  I have to confess, this wasn't to be a thorough visit of Santa Clara. Besides visiting the Che Guevara Mausoleum, which was my priority, we came to see some Casas in the center of town, my driver's purpose for being in this city. The time we spent in and around the main square, Parque Vidal, was limited. I did manage to take a few pics to give you an idea of what the city looks like. The so called 'downtown' of the city isn't very big and from the town square it's only a few minutes in a car and you're already out in the country. There were a few tourists but compared to Havana they're almost nonexistent. You'll find a larger concentration of tourists around the Che Monument but you'll find a bunch of Cuban tourists there as well. The Che monument is a huge attraction, he's buried here along with 16 of the soldiers that fought with him in Bolivia where he died in 1967.
                  Santa Clara is the Capitol city of the Villa Clara Province and has the fifth largest population in Cuba with approx. 245,000 people. It sits almost in the center of the country. The original inhabitants came here for that reason, wanting to get away from Pirate attacks in Remedios which was closer to the sea and easily accessible by land. The city was founded in 1689 by 175 people from 9 families (138 being from 2 large families) as well as a priest and a governor all having left Remedios. In the beginning they supported themselves via the raising of livestock and the spin-off businesses associated with it. However, centuries later the more lucrative tobacco and sugar industries took over as the main sources of income for the area.
                  There is a lot of Revolution history around these parts and you notice it long before you reach the city. Once you enter the Villa Clara Province the Che Guevara Billboards abound, his face is everywhere. The final battle that ended the Revolution took place near the end of 1958 in Santa Clara with the rebels being led by Che with one column and Camillo Cienfuegos with another. The defeat of his army in Santa Clara proved to the decisive battle for the overthrow of Batista's goverment, he fled the country within 12 hours of hearing the news on Dec.30, 1958.
                   As I said at the beginning of this post, I was rushed and I know I've missed a few of the more important buildings and monuments but I'm sure I wouldn't have had to go far from where I was in the town square to see them. I would come back and spend a couple of days touring around this small city and the outskirts. It's a nice place to visit if you want to get away from the hectic big city.

former city hall now Marti library

Palacio de Justicia

Statue of José Miguel Gómez (1858-1921)

Museo de Artes Decorativas

Che Monument

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