Plaza De Marte Or Plaza De La Libertad

Full of tributes to the heroes of the War of Independence, and now the venue for open air concerts and spectacles, Plaza de Marte or Plaza de la Libertad once had a more gruesome function. Today it is Santiago's place to see and be seen and to celebrate revolutionary and sporting successes.

Plaza Marte (or Plaza de la Libertad) is an open square which sits on a hill at the top of the Old Town, and most visitors to downtown Santiago de Cuba probably won't venture much further afield on foot.
The liberty referred to in the square's alternative name is the result of the War of Independence from the Spanish in 1898, as opposed to the more recent revolution. The 20-metre (66 ft) column in the centre of the square, surrounded by four bronze cannons and topped with a red cap, is dedicated to the Cuban Liberation Army. The name and the column are highly symbolic: in the 19th century, prior to independence, the square was used by the Spanish for the public execution of political prisoners and revolutionaries.
The square is laid out with six flower beds, colonnaded pergolas at either end and a couple of granite-topped stage areas for concerts, speeches and other public spectacles of a more modern nature.
Commemoration of National Heroes
In the square are three statues dedicated to Cuban national heroes. The first, Perucho Figueredo, was the author of the Cuban National Anthem. Major General Francisco Sánchez Hechavarría was the first elected governor of Oriente Province and Dr. Joaquin Castillo Duany was a Brigadier General, a noted surgeon and researcher and - remarkably - the first Cuban explorer to reach the North Pole (in 1881).
Of course, no Cuban city would be complete without a statue to José Martí, Cuba's Independence hero, who is buried a few miles away at Santiago's Santa Ifigenia cemetery. Also present are Captain Montes de Oca and Commander Camilo Cienfuegos, the latter being Che Guevara's sidekick from the days of the Revolution.
Plaza de Marte today
These days, Plaza de Marte is one of several city squares (notable others being Plaza Dolores and Parque Cespedes) where Santiagueros meet, flirt, enjoy concerts on public holidays or anniversaries of revolutionary successes, and celebrate or commiserate the fortunes of the local baseball team against arch rivals, Industriales of Havana.
An evening's stroll in Plaza de Marte or one of the other squares is an ideal way to watch Cubans at leisure as they preen and promenade while catching up with friends and the neighbourhood gossip at the end of the day.

Get Inspiration

All about where to go and what you can do
5th Avenue

5th Avenue

Quinta Avenida is often called the most beautiful street in Cuba, and for good reason. Located in Miramar district, it's home to historic mansions, many of them repurposed, as well as other landmarks including the Fountain of the Americas, an iconic clock tower, the island's largest church, and what is perhaps Cuba's most famous theme park. Read on to learn more about Quinta Avenida, an oasis of peace in a bustling city.

Alameda De Paula

Alameda de Paula

Although it has transformed considerably since its original construction in the late 18th Century, the Alameda de Paula in Havana is brimming with charm. This beautiful seaside walkway is fully lined with mature trees, benches, a fountain, and the domed Paula Church. When visitors are ready to take time away from other attractions, this can be one of the great places to sit down and pause for reflection.

Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation

Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation

The Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation is one of Cuba's top tourist attractions—however, you won't find any signs guiding you to its fields some 17 kilometres southwest of Pinar del Rio. Since it's a private enterprise, its plantation tours operate in something of a legal grey area; regardless, they come highly recommended. Though famed proprietor Alejandro Robaina passed away a few years ago, his farm continues to grow what is arguably the world's finest tobacco. Take a tour and find out why!

More attractions

Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us