Sancti Spíritus, Cuba

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Yayabo Bridge, Sancti SpíritusYayabo Bridge, Sancti Spíritus
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authorshipJialiang Gao
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Sancti Spíritus is a city in central Cuba. It is the provincial capital of Sancti Spíritus Province. Covering 1,151 sq km (444.4 sq mi), it has a population of 134,000 (2011 estimate).

Sancti Spíritus was founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. Its name means "holy spirit" in Latin. Originally sited along the Tuinucú River, it was relocated eight years later to the banks of the Yayabo River, most likely for better defence against pirates. The move did not seem to work, for in 1586, the city went up in smoke when British pirates set fire to it, in the process burning all documents related to its founding.

Today Sancti Spíritus is one of the best preserved cities in the Caribbean from the sugar plantation period. It has many interesting historic sights that are slowly gaining the attention of tourists.

Sancti Spiritus, CubaA shopping alley in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba
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The town center of Sancti Spíritus can easily be explored on foot within a few hours. There are beautiful colonial-era houses with wrought-iron balconies and streets full of character waiting to be explored. The historic center of Sancti Spíritus is today gazetted as a national monument.

Visiting Sancti Spíritus

There are buses to Sancti Spíritus from Camagüey, Havana, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.

Sights & Attractions in Sancti Spíritus

  1. Hotel Perla de Cuba
    One of the most exclusive hotels at the turn of the 20th century.
  2. Museo de Arte Colonial
    Museum housed in an 18th century house belonging to a local wealthy family. It displays furniture, porcelain, paintings and crystals, among others.
  3. Parque Serafín Sánchez
    Square at the heart ofthe city. Dedicated to a local hero in the war of independence, the square is today a national monument.
  4. Parroquial Mayor del Espíritu Santo
    A late 17th century stone church, one of the oldest churches in Cuba, built to replace an earlier church of wood built in the 16th century.
  5. Teatro Principal
    Theater building erected in 1876. It underwent restoration in 1980.
  6. Yayabo Bridge
    A stone arch bridge built in 1825, today a national monument.According to legend, the cement used for the bridge was mixed with goat milk.

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