Museo de Ambiente Histórico Cubano
On Parque Céspedes' northwestern corner lies the Casa de Diego Velázquez. Dating from 1522, this is the oldest house still standing in...
Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Santiago's most important church is stunning both inside and out. There has been a cathedral on this site since the city's inception in...
Casa de la Cultura Miguel Matamoros
The Casa de la Cultura Miguel Matamoros, on parque Céspedes' eastern aspect, is the former San Carlos Club, a social center for wealthy...
Casa de Cultura Josue País García
Grab a seat (or stand in the street) and settle down for whatever this spontaneous place can throw at you: orchestral danzón, folkloric...
Hotel Casa Granda
Positioned like a whitewashed theater box overlooking the unscripted cabaret of Parque Céspedes, the Casa Granda's Parisian-style...
Parque Céspedes information
If there's an archetype for romantic Cuban street life, Parque Céspedes is it. A throbbing kaleidoscope of walking, talking, hustling, flirting, guitar-strumming humanity, this most ebullient of city squares, with the bronze bust of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes , the man who kick-started Cuban independence in 1868, at its heart, is a sight to behold any time of day or night.
Old ladies gossip on shady park benches, a guy in a panama hat drags his scarred double bass over toward the Casa de la Trova, while sultry señoritas in skin-tight lycra flutter their eyelashes at the male tourists on the terrace of the Hotel Casa Granda. Parque Céspedes is also, aside from a jarring modernist bank on its west side, a treasure trove of colonial architecture.
The Casa de la Cultura Miguel Matamoros , on the square's eastern aspect, is the former San Carlos Club, a social center for wealthy santiagüeros until the Revolution. Next door British novelist Graham Greene once sought literary inspiration in the terrace-bar of the Hotel Casa Granda (1914). The neoclassical Ayuntamiento , on the northern side of the square, was erected in the 1950s using a design from 1783 and was once the site of Hernán Cortés' mayoral office. Fidel Castro appeared on the balcony of the present building on the night of January 2, 1959, trumpeting the Revolution's triumph.