Top attractions of Matanzas

One of Matanzas’s bridges, photo by Manu_H/Flickr

Choosing Cuba as your holiday destination is a good decision, as there are numerous things to do and to see in this spectacular country. Matanzas is just one of the numerous fantastic towns of Cuba. It is the capital city of the province of Matanzas. It is well-known for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore. Matanzas is located on the northern shore of the island of Cuba, on the Bay of Matanzas, about 90 km east of Havana. It is also called the “City of Bridges”. There are seventeen bridges in the town, crossing the three rivers that traverse Matanzas: Rio Yumuri, San Juan and Canimar rivers. Thus, it is not surprising that it is considered the “Venice of Cuba”. It was also nicknamed “The Athens of Cuba” for its poets. Visiting the attractions of this spectacular town is surely a memorable experience.

Cathedral of San Carlos de Borromeo


The cathedral of Matanzas can be found in the section of the city between the two rivers, the Yumuri and San Juan. It is the seat of the Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Matanzas. The original church on the site of the actual cathedral was made of guano, the leaves of the royal palm and was destroyed by a storm. Shortly afterwards the construction of the cathedral was begun. The work was finished in 1735. It used to be a beautiful church with frescoes on the walls and ceiling, having an impressive dome. Unfortunately, today, after years of neglect the decay seems irreparable.


One of Matanzas’s bridges, photo by Manu_H/Flickr


The Historical Museum of Matanzas


The Museo Historico Provincial de Matanzas is housed in the Palacio de Junco which was built for the del Junco family, between 1835 and 1838. The building houses the museum since 1980. It is located at the Plaza de La Viga on Milanes Street. It is an impressive and remarkable example of Matanzas’ 19th century houses. Its arcades on both the ground and first floors are spectacular. The museum showcases the full sweep of Matanzas’ history from 1693 to the present. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00. (August 2012)


The Sauto Theatre


The Sauto Theatre opened to the public in 1863. Since then it became one of the symbols of the city. It is housed in a U-shaped building with 775 seats and is almost entirely covered with wood-paneling. It has three balconies. An interesting fact about the theatre is that its floor can be raised to convert the auditorium into a ballroom. The Sauto Theatre is decorated with beautiful Carrara marble statues of Greek goddesses. The main hall ceiling is decorated with amazing paintings of the muses. It is a must-see of the town.


The town of Matanzas, photo by versae/Flickr


La Quinta Bellamar


La Quinta de Bellamar (The Villa of Bellamar) was one of the largest houses in Matanzas. It can be found on the Bay of Matanzas. The house was built in the 18th century. It was purchased by the Tamargo family at the beginning of the 20th century. They used it as their summer home, but in 1956 they sold the house to the Catholic Church. Most of the house was torn down. The only part that remained of the original building is its front facade and the living room which houses the actual church. The Quinta is still so large that it can be seen from across the bay.


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