Matanzas is the capital. The
coast is lined with ports and bays and contains one of the
world's finest beaches, at Varadero ("Playa Azul").
In the northern half of the province are plains; in the south
are low-lying wetlands. The southern coast includes the site
of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Sugarcane and henequen are the
major crops; subsistence agriculture is also practiced, and
there is some cattle raising. Matanzas has a tourist industry
as well as many mineral springs.
Matanzas, city (1994 est. pop. 115,000), capital of Matanzas
prov., W central Cuba. A port with a large, deep harbor,
it exports sugar, fruits, and sisal. Industries in the city
include sugar refineries and textile mills. Matanzas is
located on the turnpike between Havana and Varadero Beach,
and is a popular stopover for vacationers, who explore the
picturesque Yumurí River valley and the caves of
Bellamar, famous for their calcite crystal formations. Founded
in 1693, it was once a pirate haven but by the early 19th
cent. had become Cuba's second city, mainly because of the
growth of the sugar industry. As the industry moved eastward,
the city's importance declined. Matanzas remains an important
cultural center for the area.
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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 Vigia 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 Jose Marti which takes center stage of the Parque de La Libertad Matanzas. The park is also the bus [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 decor. 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 2.5KM (1.5 miles) of underground caves called the Cuevas Bellamar are by far Cuba’s oldest tourist attraction. Located just 5km southeast of Matanzas the caves have been carbon dated to be 300,000 years old. The cave system was originally discovered in 1861 and now provides terrific spectacle of stalactites and stalagmites and impressive crystallized domes. Tour of the Bellamar caves take 45-minutes and tours are every hour starting at 9:30am. There is no need to book in advance and [...]