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Liberty Park Matanzas Cuba

Parque de La Libertad Matanzas Cuba

Liberty Park is one of the nicest areas of Matanzas, with beautiful architecture, interesting museums and abundant trees for shade, its great place for people watching. Just a few blocks directly west of Plaza de la Vigía you’ll discover Parque de La Libertad, within a few blocks of several more of Matanzas’ most interesting sights, including a 1909 bronze statue of José Martí which takes center stage of the Parque de La Libertad Matanzas.

The park is also the bus stop for the Varadero Hop On – Hop Off Bus which visits Matanzas so if you are visiting Matanzas from Varadero you will invariably stop here. The Libertad Park is perfectly suited as a central point for your discovery of Matanzas, as most sights are within a few block of this central city square.

Bridge of Bacunayagua Matanzas

Puente de Bacunayagua Cuba

Holding the record as Cuba’s highest bridge the Puente de Bacunayagua was inaugurated in September 1959 and sits impressively at 110 meters above the valley below. The bridge marks the spot of the division between the provinces of Mayabeque and Matanzas. Considered by Cubans and visitors alike as one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering, the bridge has its own restaurant with a panoramic observation deck on the Havana side of the bridge, looking towards the Matanzas coastline.


On the coastal cove side of the bridge in Matanzas there’s a very popular campground frequented by thousands during the summer months. As the bridge is part of the only main road to Matanzas and Varadero, every tourist who travels between Havana and either of these two tourist destination have traversed the bridge. On most occasions tourist buses will stop en-route to allow you to experience the impressive view, take photos or visit the snack bar and restaurant.

Castle of San Severino Castillo

Castle of San Severino Matanzas Cuba

In 2009 the city of Matanzas inaugurated a national museum on the Slave Route in the Castle of San Severino.

The Museum of the Slave Trade in Cuba was opened by UNESCO and tells the riveting story about how the Atlantic slave trade forms an essential part of the shared history of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and Americas.

Designed to bridge generations, the museum is an interesting place to learn about African history, traditions and languages and how they transcended into the Caribbean and the Americas due to the slave trading. Much like the move “12 years a slave” the interest surrounding the Slave Route and resulting museum is to break the silence on the immoral and ignoble practice of which Africa was an unfortunate victim. The Cuban slave trade museum hosts an important exhibition of pictures and texts never before revealed to the public, outlining the practices of the slave traders and the relevance of Cuba in the transatlantic trade. Visitors can learn about calimbo, a practice consisting of branding the African slaves with a red-hot iron when they arrived as if they were animals, to identify them as a purchaser’s property. They were branded on the stomach, arms or back and in the case of females on the chest or legs.

The castle that houses the museum laid its first stone on October 13, 1693 and was completed during the early 1700s. What is now called the  “Sub-Saharan Holocaust” is considered the worst ever known to humanity as Africans were torn from their mother land, never to return to their homes, families or cultures.

Northeast of Versalles in Matanzas the Castillo de San Severino was completed by the Spanish in 1735 as part of Cuba’s defensive ring. Slaves were offloaded during the 18th century. Later, the castle was conspicuously used to imprison Cuban patriots and sometimes the site of mass executions. San Severino Castle remained a prison until the 1970s. The Castle of San Severino now houses the aforementioned Museo de la Ruta de los Esclavos.

The Castle of San Severino with its authentic central square has great views of the Bahía de Matanzas. At a short 2CUC taxi ride from the center of Matanzas City, the Castle of San Severino museum is both an interesting historic venue and a perfect location from which to view the city back across the bay.

To see more museums like the Castle of San Severino in Matanzas and the rest of Cuba, visit Cuba Museums

Sauto Theater Matanzas Cuba

Sauto Theater Matanzas Cuba

The Sauto Theater opened in 1863 and has remained a focal point of the city ever since. Designed in U-shaped 775-seat configuration it is hailed by musicians to have some of best acoustic resonances in the world. The interior of the Teatro Sauto is almost completely covered with ornate wood-paneling giving the interior a bourgeois appearance. The seating area has three VIP balconies and the floor can be raised internally to convert the auditorium into a ballroom. Considered the most elegant and functional of 19th-century Cuban theatres, bypassing similar structures even in Havana, it has become an architectural symbol of the city, so much so that the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera once stated, “I recognize Matanzas by the Sauto.” The theatre was declared a National Monument in 1978 by the Cuban government. The original theater curtain is a painting of the Puente de la Concordia over the Yumurí River in Matanzas. The luxurious lobby offers a precious array of Carrara marble statues of Greek goddesses and the main hall ceiling features paintings of the muses.

Amongst artists who have appeared at the Sauto Theater we have Cuba’s most recognized Ballerina Alicia Alonso, the Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova, the tenor Enrico Caruso, actress Sarah Bernhardt, Cuban musician Ernesto Lecuona, playwright and Nobel Laureate Jacinto Benavente, actress and singer Libertad Lamarque, Spanish dancer Antonio Gades, the composer, guitarist and conductor Leo Brouwer and the charismatic entertainer Snowball.

Even if you are disinterested in the theater or performing arts, the Sauto Theater is an architectural marvel in its own right and well worth your time.

Botica Francesa Dr. E. Triolet Matanzas

Pharmacy Museum Matanzas Cuba

The Pharmacy Museum La Botica Triolet in Matanzas is a rare find indeed. Located in the city center next to the Libertad Park and a few steps from the Sauto Theater, the pharmacy dates back to 1882 and still maintains its original décor. The woodwork, architecture and all the old 19th century equipment and ceramic bottles are all from the period. The tour is just 3CUC per person and well worth the cost. You’ll learn how medicine was made in the room behind the store with old recipes still on show to visitors. The museum not only has the original store front but also the back rooms where medications were prepared are beautifully preserved with ornate wood carvings and shelves for the medicines. You can almost imagine walking in there 100 years ago with an ailment and being served a concoction created onsite. Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Pharmacy Museum is the large collection of US, European and Cuban medications from the époque, which show just how well connected Matanzas was with the rest of the world even a century ago. To see this and other museums in Matanzas visit Cuba Museums