Central Cuba Sights

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Parque Vidal

Parque Vidal Review

Most of the museums and monuments surround Parque Vidal, Santa Clara's central plaza. The streets that border it are closed to traffic, and locals gather here at night and on weekends, when concerts are often held in the kiosk or on the street in front of the Casa de la Cultura. On the park's northeast end stands the stately Palacio Provincial, built in 1912 to house the provincial government but now the city's library. Across the park from the library is the Palacio Municipal, or town hall, a structure dating from 1922. The neoclassical building next to the Palacio Municipal was originally an elite social club but is now a government cultural center, the Casa de la Cultura; climb its marble staircase to the old ballroom, which is still lovely despite decades of neglect.

Near the southern end of Parque Vidal stands a statue of Marta Abreu, a 19th-century philanthropist who financed, among other things, the construction of the city's main theater, the Teatro la Caridad, which is being renovated at this writing and is not open for tours. On the park's northwest corner, it was completed in 1885. Northwest corner of Parque Vidal, Santa Clara, Villa Clara. 42/20–5548.

The oldest building on Parque Vidal is the Museo de Artes Decorativos, a former home built in the 1820s that's now open to the public. The house itself is half the attraction, with its marble floors, fluted columns, and hand-painted tiles. Its rooms hold an array of antiques—including crystal, china, statues, and furniture—that date from several centuries. Northwest corner of Parque Vidal, Santa Clara, Villa Clara. 42/20–8161. 2 cuc. Mon. and Wed.–Thurs. 9–noon and 1–6, Fri.–Sat. 1 pm–10 pm, Sun. 6 pm–10 pm.

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