Bayamo Tourist Attractions
Capital of Granma province, Bayamo is a small size city with a relaxed atmosphere and refreshingly, not overrun with tourists. It is one of the oldest towns in Cuba and is a national monument. Bayamo was founded in 1513 but the town was burned to the ground by the town's people in 1869, during the First War of Independence, as an alternative to surrendering it to the Spanish. As a result, the town does not boast great Colonial architecture. There are several monuments in the town related to the war of independence, which figured so prominently in the history of Bayamo. The town also played a part in the Revolution, which is recognized throughout the town.Some of the local attractions include the Casa Natal de Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the Parroquial Mayor de San Salvador, and the sites around Plaza de la Revolution.Northeast of Bayamo is Dos Rios, best known for being the place where Jose Marti died on May 19, 1895. The location is marked with an obelisk to commemorate this national hero. There is also a memorial trail lined with flowers at this location. Also not far from Bayamo, on the outskirts of the town of Guisa is the Jardin Botanico de Cupaynicu. The garden is located in a mountainous area and home to a range of plants used for all different purposes.
Iglesia Parroquial Mayor de San Salvador
Near the Plaza Himno Nacional stands the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor de San Salvador. This church is most important for being the location where the national anthem was first played. Each member of the orchestra to participate in that historic event is listed on a plaque.The original church, like the rest of the buildings in the town, was burned during the fire of 1869. The only part of the original structure to survive the fire was the Capilla de Dolorosa, constructed in 1740. The chapel is noteworthy for the gilded wood baroque main altar and the statue of the Virgen de Dorolosa, both of which date to 1740. The new Iglesia Parroquial Mayor de San Salvador was built in 1919 and features a mural of Manuel Cespedes blessing the flag, done by Luis Desangles.
Plaza del Himno Nacional
Plaza del Himno Nacional, near the Plaza de la Revolucion, is one of Bayamo's historically significant squares. Plaza del Himno Nacional translates to 'Square of the National Anthem' and is so named for the first playing of the national anthem, which took place in the church near this square. A monument in the Plaza del Himno Nacional pays tribute to the creator of the national anthem, Perucho Figueredo. His bust stands on top of a large plaque with the words and music to the song. The national anthem was first played here on October 20, 1868. The following year, the town's people burned Bayamo to the ground rather than see it fall to the Spanish. As a result the town is known as the birthplace of the Cuban Nation.
Plaza de la Revolucion (Parque Cespedes)
Bayamo's Plaza de la Revolucion, also commonly called Parque Cespedes, is a good place to begin exploring the city. Not only will visitors find some of the city's most impressive architecture and war monuments, it is also the heart of the city with people constantly coming, going, or just relaxing. In the center of Parque Cespedes is a bronze statue of war hero Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. Encompassing the square is a stone bench where locals can always be seen reading, relax, or conversing. Some of the buildings on Plaza de la Revolucion are the Cultural Center, the Royalton Hotel, the Poder Popular offices, and Pedrito café.
Birthplace of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes
Bayamo's greatest war hero was born here at Casa Natal de Carlos Manuel de Cespedes in 1819. Manuel de Cespedes is credited with leading the independence movement in 1868. His birthplace, Casa Natal de Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, where he lived until the age of 12, is now a museum. On display are Cespedes personal items and documents, information on the history of Bayamo and the death of Cespedes, along with some of the home's original furnishings. The house itself is also a significant piece of architecture, as the only remaining two story Colonial house in Bayamo.
Torre de San Juan de Evangelista
The Torre de San Juan de Evangelista is all that remains of the church that once stood here. The church was burned to the ground during the fire of 1869 but the tower endured. It was later used as the entrance to the cemetery. The cemetery no longer exists but it was the first cemetery in Cuba. It closed in 1919 and was destroyed in 1940. Despite all the changes around it, the Torre de San Juan de Evangelista still stands. A statue of war hero, Francisco Vicente Aguilera, stands next to the tower.