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Eastern Cuba Sights

Parque Céspedes

  • Government Building

Fodor's Review

Parque Céspedes is a charming square with large trees and long marble benches. It's still a center of local life, and a good place to drink in the rhythms of a quiet Cuban town. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available from here.

At the square's center is the granite-and-bronze statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the hero of the Ten Years War. He wrote the famous "Grito de Yara" ("Shout of Yara")—a declaration of independence from Spain—which he read

aloud on October 10, 1868, after freeing his slaves. Look also for the statue of Perucho Figueredo, who wrote Cuba's national anthem; its words describe the valor of the local townspeople: Run to the battle, Bayamenses / Let the motherland proudly watch you / Don't fear death / To die for the motherland is to live. On the east side of the square is the Poder Popular, the old town hall where Céspedes abolished slavery after founding an independent republic briefly in 1868.

The Casa de Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a two-story house on the north side of Parque Céspedes, is the birthplace of Céspedes himself. It has been a museum since 1968, the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Cuban Declaration of Independence, and is filled with period furniture and the belongings of this Cuban patriot. Also on display is the printing press on which Céspedes published Cuba's first independent newspaper. Calle Maceo 57, Bayamo, Granma. 24/42–3864. 1 cuc. Tues.–Sat. 9–5, Sun. 9–1.

On the north side of Parque Céspedes is the eclectic Museo Provincial, which is housed in the birthplace of composer Manuel Muñoz Cedeño. He wrote "La Bayamesa," a tribute to the beauty of the town's women, who are, tradition holds, among Cuba's loveliest. There are exhibits on the region's colonial history and its geography. Calle Maceo 55, Bayamo, Granma. 24/42–4125. 1 cuc. Mon.–Fri. 9–5, Sat.–Sun. 10–1 and Sat. 7 pm–9 pm.

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