Santa Clara, Cuba Tourist Attractions
Santa Clara is an inland city and an important location from a historical standpoint. This is also a vibrant university city with many cultural attractions. When beach towns and resorts all start to seem the same, Santa Clara will add something knew to your Cuban itinerary.The city is particularly well known for being the site of the last guerrilla battle led by Che Guevara in 1958. His body was laid to rest here as well, and his mausoleum and monument complex are the town's largest attractions. In addition to this though there are numerous museums and galleries, along with nightlife activities for both young and old.
Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara
The Memorial Comandante Ernesto 'Che' Guevara is the biggest attraction in Santa Clara, the city that is forever associated with the name Che Guevara. Located in Plaza de la Revolution, the monument consists of a bronze statue of Che, complete with a broken arm in a cast, along with a relief showing the revolutionary in battle. Etched on the monument is the final letter from Che Guevara to Fidel Castro. Beneath this huge monument is Guevara's mausoleum and next to that is the Museo Historico de la Revolucion. In this museum visitors will find personal items of Che Guevara's, including the clothing he was wearing when he was murdered. There is also a video on his life. Overall the complex is superb and is definitely worth a visit.The Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara was designed by Jorge Cao Campos and Jose Delarra for the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Santa Clara and unveiled for the first time on December 28, 1988.
Teatro de la Caridad
The Teatro de la Caridad in Santa Clara was built in 1885 but has been renovated several times. Despite the renovations much of the original interior, including furniture, artwork and décor, remains much as it did when the theatre opened. During its time, the Theatre de la Caridad also operated a number of additional businesses in the building, including a restaurant, ballroom and even a barbershop. These businesses generated money that was at least in part given to charity, thus the name of the theatre, which translates in English to "Charity Theatre". The reason for this is largely due to the fact that it was built for the heiress Martha Abreu de Estevez, who contributed to building many of the public service buildings in Santa Clara.
Tren Blindado Monumento
The Tren Blindado Monumento is a monument commemorating Che Guevara's victory in Santa Clara on December 29, 1958. On that day Che Guevara, following a victory the previous day against Batista's soldiers, derailed a train full of soldiers and weapons bound for eastern Cuba with the intention of stopping the advancing forces. The Tren Blindado Monumento is the creation of Jose Delarra who attempted to recreate this historic victory. Visitors will find the bulldozer that Guevara and his men used to derail the train, along with three of the carriages from the train. Weapons are on display in the museum here and there is an obelisk, which details the events of that day.
Decorative Arts Museum
The Museo de Artes Decorativas (Decorative Arts Museum) is an interesting attraction showing how households in Santa Clara and other parts of Cuba would have looked over the past few centuries. Located in the 18th Century house which once belonged to a criollo family, the Museo de Artes Decorativas displays furniture collections, which also include art, porcelain and glass ware, as well as other household items. Surrounding the central courtyard are a number of rooms which display these period furnishings from the 18th, 19th, and 20 Centuries. The building is also used to hold small musical performances and other small scale events.
Parque Leoncio Vidal
In the Santa Clara city center is the Parque Leoncio Vidal, a beautiful shady green space with park benches. People come here to visit and linger under the trees for hours. In the park is a covered bandstand where each day at 2:00 pm the Santa Clara orchestra plays, a tradition that has been going on for over one hundred years. A column stands in the Parque Leoncio Vidal as a tribute to two priests, Juan de Conyedo and Hurtade de Mendoza. A bust of Leonicio Vidal, who the park is named for, is also found in the park, as is a fountain and the statue known as Nino de la Bota Infortunada.
Parque Tudury (Parque El Carmen)
Parque Tudury is home to a monument that marks the spot where mass was first celebrated in Santa Clara in 1689. The town was founded by residents of Remedios, who moved here to escape the pirate attacks, to which Remedios frequently fell victim. Parque Tudury is also referred to locally as Parque El Carmen. On the edge of the park is the neo-classical style Iglesia di Nuestra Senora del Carmen. There is also a marble monument, supported by 12 columns, which stands as a tribute to the 12 families who settled the town, as well as a monument to Roberto Rodrigues (El Vquerito) who was killed in Santa Clara in December 1958.