Sancti Spiritus OverviewSancti Spiritus was one of the first seven towns founded by Spanish conqueror Diego Velazquez in the island. After the founding of Bayamo, the second town, he decided to build that of La Santisima Trinidad and another, which he would call Espiritu Santo (Holy Ghost), around 1514, becoming a new populated area in the site known as Cayo de la Iglesia.
There are different versions as to the causes for transferring the town to another territory, but the fact is that, in 1522, it became the town of Yayabo once it was moved to the surroundings of a river bearing the same name, exactly where it is nowadays.
As part of the central region, the economy of the province collapsed in the 19th century when western landowners and industrials managed to modernize the processes for obtaining sugar thanks to the introduction of the steam engine and the advantages of railroad transportation. Although Sancti Spiritus and Trinidad had good sugar mills, they could not compete with those of the west.
In 1868, the Ten-Year War started and at the beginning of 1875 the independence forces, coming from the province of Oriente, started the invasion of Las Villas in order to take war westward. Formed by about 1000 men, the force was led by General Maximo Gómez. On January 6, 1875, they entered the territory of Las Villas and several battles took place in the territories of Sancti Spiritus, Manicaragua, Cienfuegos, and others. The campaign could not be taken to a happy ending this time, owing to division, regionalism as well as indiscipline of the troops which cause them to disperse. However, patriots like Serafin Sanchez, Leocadio Bonachea, and Carlos Roloff engaged in a guerrilla fight against the Spanish columns.
In the war of 1895, in the heroic quest of the east-west invasion, Sancti Spiritus Fourth Corps, commanded by General Serafin Sanchez, joined the invasion forces and proved the same courage and discipline of the previous war. From their arrival on December 3, the invasion forces counted on the heroism of the insurrectionists who struggled courageously in Sancti Spiritus and Trinidad.
In the liberation war that ended with the triumph of the revolution on January 1st, 1959, the province of Sancti Spiritus played an important role: they gave an extraordinary support to the invasion troops commanded by Ernesto Che Guevara, which allowed them to take over the cities of Cabaiguan and Sancti Spiritus and other territories, which opposed no resistance, on December 21. All those actions paved the way for attaining the main objective of the invasion forces: the takeover of Santa Clara.
Culture and cuba holidaysThis province contains not only the city of Sancti Spiritus, which has been designed World Heritage Site by UNESCO, but also the city of Trinidad, considered a Museum City. These titles speak for themselves about the conservation of the architectonic treasures dating back to colonial times, with mixed styles of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. When walking along Trinidad's stone-paved streets, the visitor is able to admire exquisitely manufactured attributes like ironworks, staircases, and balconies.
In the main plaza, are contrasting the profane statue of Terpsichore, Greek muse of choral songs and dance, and the Holy Trinity Church, expression of catholic religiosity. The altar and the images of this church are extremely valuable pieces.
To get to know local history, the Guamuhaya museum offers a panorama of Cuban history from its origins. The museum facility is thought to have been Hernan Cortes' residence while preparing his trip to Mexico.Other museums, like the Museo Romantico, located in the Brunet palace, and the Museo Municipal de Historia, offer details of economical and social life of the region.
Sancti Spiritus' culture is complemented by the Parque Nacional Caguanes, where there is a great deal of valuable archeological sites and pictographic murals of great interest. In addition, the section of UNEAC (association of Cuban writers and artists) in the province annually organizes a colloquy on narrative that has a national transcendence and gathers relevant figures of Cuban intellectuality.
The province of Sancti Spiritus is the only one in Cuba to count two of the original seven villas (towns) in Cuba among its offerings.
Tourism and cuba holidaysIn Cuba's central region, the province of Sancti Spiritus, offers the visitor a varied spectacle: a succession of mountains and woods, while waters are distributed in rivers or arrive to its shores in form of serene waves. All of this means good holidays.
The Sierra del Escambray is one of the most relevant orographic groups in Cuba and treasures also fragments of the Cuban history and the epical deeds having taken place in its heights.
Testimony of the development reached by Cuban sugar industry can be found in the Valle de los Ingenios (valley of mills), in which ruins of factories, summer houses, and barracks speak of the contrast between the inhuman life of African slaves and the opulence of their owners. Also preserved, the tower of Manaca Iznaga built in 1816, announced to the entire valley with the tolling of its bell the beginning and end of the day-work.
It is precisely in El Escambray mountain range where the Topes de Collantes health resort offers the benefits of local climate and the services of a highly-qualified medical personnel. The visitor can there enjoy a protected natural landscape where orchids, arbores cent ferns, and eucalypts grow.
Sport fishing lovers find an ideal place in Zaza dam, where there is abundance of fish, especially trout species, much requested by amateur fishers.
Quite near the city of Trinidad, the beach of Maria Aguilar amazes the visitor with shallow waters, letting show in the bottom, gorgonians, multiple species of coral, tropical fish, and chelonians. Of great importance in the area is the Marina Puertosol Cayo Blanco offering opportunities for anchoring and docking of boats. Visitors can count also on the Cayo Blanco and Costa Sur centers, where they can take scuba lessons for beginners, rent scuba equipment, and carry out day or night-time immersions in sunken ships.
The protected area of El Naranjal, located in the heights of Banao, has an extension of 3000 ha (7407 acres) and treasures 212 fern species, 265 forestal ones, and 60 orchid ones. There are also varieties of birds and amphibious species.
The Jardines del Rey archipelago is located off the northern coast of the province. It has an extension of 22 000 ha (54 321 acres) and possesses a cave system including flooded ones like that of Cayo Zaguanes. There, we find the habitat of a freshwater sponge species, only of its kind in the globe.