SANTIAGO DE CUBA- A new recreational tourism route around the World Heritage Site of Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, is introducing locals and visitors to the enchanting sea-views of this city on Cuba’s south-eastern coast.
The route starts from the central Céspedes Park, in the very Heart of the city centre where tourists receive information about the formation of the settlement on the site, of its foundation 500 years ago on July 25, the Day of the Apostle of Santiago, Patron Saint of the Spanish Kingdom.
Only a few blocks away is “Velazquez’s Balcony”, another point of interest from the height of which much of the city and the vestiges of the fortresses charged with protecting it from pillaging pirates, corsairs and other menaces, can be appreciated.
Amongst other attractive stops is Alameda Avenue, a recipient of significant investment for the city‘s 500th anniversary, and the first stretch of promenade that has given the pleasures of the bay back to the city dwellers.
En-route to the imposing fort there is also a stop at Frank País hill; its historic park dominated by a statue of the young underground resistance member who fought during the 1950’s to bring down the dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The remains of other Spanish colonial military constructions are also included as symbolic sentinels of that era.
At the Castillo itself, visitors can enjoy the sunset ceremony, a patriotic ritual performed by young people in “Mambis” (XIX century Cuban independence insurgents who confronted Spanish forces) style.
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1997, the settlement is considered to be an example of the Latin American military school of Architecture. In order for these constructive qualities to be protected, the Office of the City Conservationist performs routine maintenance checks.
Just three years ago, one such “routine check” comprised the complete repair of all timber components of the settlement and in particular the fort’s principal entrance bridge.
Additionally, this entrance bridge served to regulate access by the provision of a pedestrian-only reception area. This bridge had previously permitted the passing of buses, trucks and other vehicles which damaged the installation.
These improvements also extended to the restaurant that specializes in traditional food, various kiosks, craft stands and the lighthouse that guided ships on their way through this stretch of the Caribbean Sea.
The managers and staff from the Office of the City Conservationist and the Provincial Heritage Management take special care of their “favorite child”, the historic military fortress that also represents a standard Caribbean adaption of Italian Renaissance military architecture.
Omar Lopez, director of the aforementioned agency, describes the institution as being in excellent state of repair and another of the marvels that Santiago de Cuba has to offer.Share on FB Share on TT