Holguin Tourist Attractions
Holguin, the capital of the province of the same name, is the fourth largest city in Cuba. It is nicknamed "the city of parks" and has many shady squares that add to Holguin's appeal. The town does not have a lot of colonial architecture but is a pleasant and lively city, with a university. It was founded in the first half of the 16th Century and gained its status as a city in 1752. Holguin saw much fighting during the wars of independence and there are monuments around the city paying tribute to important historical figures and war heroes. Some of the main highlights in the city are found on or near the three main squares, Parque San Jose, Parque Calixto Garcia, and Parque Peralta.
La Periquera (Museo Provincial de Historia)
The Museo Provincial de Historia in Holguin is housed in the building known as La Periquera. This name was actually a nickname given to this neo-Classical building when it was used as a Spanish army barracks and the Spanish in their colored uniforms were thought to resemble parrots. La Periquera translates to "parrot cage". The building was constructed in the 1860s as a high-end ballroom. However, during the Ten Years War that followed it was used as the barracks.The Museum Provincial de Historia, which is housed in La Periquera, explores the history of Holguin and the surrounding area. On display are archeological finds from the Taino Indians, including the most famous find, the Hacha de Holguin. This is a stone axe head carved in the shape of a man, which is the symbol of Holguin. There are also exhibits on other periods from the city's history.
Museo de Historia Natural Carlos de la Torre y Huerta (Museo de Ciencias Naturales)
For an interesting look at the flora and fauna of Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean try going to the Museo de Historia Natural Carlos de la Torre y Huerta in Holguin. This museum contains over 7,000 specimens of stuffed animals, reptiles and aquatic life. Visitors will see stuffed birds, turtles, shells, and fish fossils among other items. The building that houses the Museo de Historia Natural Carlos e la Torre y Huerta is a beautiful mix of architectural styles, with neo-Classical columns and Moorish turrets with a splendid interior. The building has undergone some recent upgrades.
Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
For panoramic views over the city try climbing the more than 450 stairs up to Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross). This hilltop location has a lookout tower and a large cross. The cross was placed here on May 3, 1790 during a period of drought. Each year now local residents of Holguin climb up the stairs to Loma de la Cruz on May 3 in celebration of Romerias de la Cruz de Mayo. Considering the city is relatively flat and laid out in a typical grid pattern with no particular point of interest, the view, although extensive, may not be worth the climb.
San Isidro Cathedral
Located on Parque Peralta is the large white Catedral de San Isidro, unmistakable for the large central bell tower that dominates the square. This former church was designated a cathedral in 1979. It was built on the location of the first mass celebrated in Holguin. The Catedral de San Isidro was built in 1720 but the appearance has changed over the years with extensive alterations. On display in the church is a copy of the Madonna of Caridad.In the plaza a statue of General Julio Grave de Peralta faces the cathedral.