Santa Clara Travel Guide, Cuba
276 kilometres east of Havana is the city of Santa Clara. The city dating from 1689 is an interesting destination to visit especially because here you can find the site of Cubanacán which Christopher Columbus thought was the residence of the Mongol chief Kublai Khan, the beautiful beaches of la Cayería del Norte and the historical heritage of Remedios.
Its location in the Villa Clara province was thought to be a good hiding point from pirates in the past and now the most important thing about its location is being close to the highway and train lines.
Its economy has grown strong including industries like tanneries, mining, sugar and cigar and maybe this made the officials choose it as the capital of the region.
And as many capitals it can’t be without a university thus attracting many people from the young generation, this giving the city a fresh atmosphere. The university called Universidad Central de las Villas has played a much greater role in the lives of the locals besides being a cultural center. It played its part in the independence and revolutionary wars.
One of the most important figures in the revolutionary war was Che Guevara, considered a hero. There is even a mausoleum located on the western part of the city raised in his memory where his remains were buried after they were brought from Bolivia in 17 October 1997. Other revolutionists were buried there and since then there were many who visited the mausoleum, considered to be one of the main attractions in the city and it is also a national monument. Actually the city is called the city of Che Guevara due to his role in its history.
Next to the mausoleum is a museum hosting documents, photos and other objects related to the hero’s life. Cubans are very proud of this character that became a symbol of humanism.
Another historical site is the Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado still linked to the national hero Che Guevara. Here in this small park you can see some sculptures and a tiny museum.
Besides historical attractions the city offers tourists plenty of places to stroll having a park in the middle of the city called Parque Vidal. The area is destined only to pedestrians and locals and tourists alike love to meet and have a walk. The best place to shop is the Bulevar, a huge mall full of shops mostly aimed at tourists. It is still in the area that entertainment can continue with a visit to the theater which is just a few blocks away. “Teatro La Caridad” dates from the 19th-century and features great shows and concerts. It is a beautiful building and is a National Cuban Monument.
The park being in the center of the city has gathered all the important buildings including the former City Hall, a market called the Plaza del Mercado Central, Colonia Española de Santa Clara center of dance and Santa Clara Libre Hotel.
If you want to be in the center of things, than you have to be in Parque Vidal where all important things are happening and were happening. In the past people were even more attracted to this park and there were special customs going on like setting up a platform and playing the guitar.
If you want to buy souvenirs one of the best options would be to go to the tobacco factory and there you’ll find a shop called La Casa del Tabaco offering great cigars.
History, Cuban culture and relaxation opportunities can all be found in the city of Santa Clara.
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