The best World Heritage Sites in Cuba

Castillo de la Real Fuerza, photo by hoyasmeg/Flickr

There are nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. The first site, Old Havana with its fortifications was included on the list in 1982. Four of the nine sites were included on the list for their natural beauty, the remaining five for their cultural significance.

The nine World Heritage Sites in Cuba are the following: Old Havana with its fortifications, the town of Trinidad with the Valle de los Ingenios, the Viñales Valley, the San Pedro de la Roca Castle in the town of Santiago de Cuba, the historic centre of Camagüey, the urban historic centre of Cienfuegos, the Desembarco del Granma National Park, the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and the first coffee plantations in Cuba. Below, there will be presented the best sites which are worth visiting.

Old Havana and its fortifications

Old Havana is the name of the capital city’s central part. It is very attractive and popular among tourists, being home to some stunning historic buildings. Thus, it is not surprising that it had been listed as a World Heritage Site in 1982. The dominating architectural styles are Baroque and Neoclassical. Many buildings needed restoration, but today are considered architectural jewels. There are also numerous fortresses which are also listed as World Heritage Sites. These are the following: the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Castillo del Morro, the San Salvador de la Punta Fortress and the La Cabaña fortress. Other stunning architectural jewels of the city are: the Cathedral of Havana, the Capitolio Nacional, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Great Theatre of Havana, the Governor’s Palace, the Church Angel Custodio and so on.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza, photo by hoyasmeg/Flickr

San Pedro de la Roca Castle

The beautiful fortress can be found in the city of Santiago de Cuba. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. It was constructed to defend the city from pirates. The construction of a smaller fortress took 20 years to finish (between 1590 and 1610). The actual fortress was built between 1638 and 1700. In 1662 the city was attacked and a part of the fortress was destroyed. Later, the damage was repaired. Between 1675 and 1692 several earthquakes also caused damages to the building. The fortress needed reconstruction. The actual look of the San Pedro de la Roca Castle is the result of its restoration during the 1960’s.

San Pedro de la Roca Castle, photo by samurai_dave/Flickr

Alejandro de Humboldt National Park

It is a spectacular national park which lies on the territory of two provinces: Holguín and Guantánamo. The park is a World Heritage Site since 2001. The wealth of the fauna and flora is breathtaking. There are also several peaks of which the beautiful rivers flow off in the park. There are 16 species of protected endemic plants here and a number of species of animals, such as hummingbirds, parrots, lizards and so on. The park is considered the country’s most humid place and this fact causes a huge biological diversity. It is undoubtedly one of the best World Heritage Sites in Cuba.

Viñales Valley

The magnificent and famous valley is located in the Pinar del Río Province. It is well-known for its tobacco plantations. The valley is very popular among tourists due to it natural beauty. There are cliffs and a number of caves here. Besides, the flora and fauna of the valley are impressive. Visitors can go hiking or rock climbing. It is a magnificent tourist destination and also one of the best World Heritage Sites in Cuba.

Vinales Valley, photo by jerrroen/Flickr


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