Memorial Museum Che Guevara
Site of pilgrimage for Che enthusiasts, wannabe revolutionaries, political activists and thousands of tourists every year, the Memorial museum Che Guevara (or, to give it its full name, the Museo Histórico de la Revolución and the Mausoleo Che Guevara), is the main reason anyone visits Santa Clara. A rather modest museum sits in the shadow of a colossal style statue of the revolutionary.
The museum complex
The Memorial museum is just outside the city of Santa Clara, which is located in the centre of the islandThe enormous statue of the revolutionary hero, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, can be seen for miles around, towering over the Soviet-style housing developments which surround it. There is also a mural carved in stone depicting his role in the revolution. The statue was erected in 1987 to mark the 20th anniversary of Guevara’s murder in Bolivia, although Che's remains were not recovered from Bolivia and returned to Cuba until 1997. Today, the mausoleum contains 38 stone-carved niches dedicated to the guerrillas killed in Che's final and fateful Bolivian campaign.
The museum contains plenty of photographs and Che personal belongings, including weapons, letters, and medical equipment from the field. The photos depict Guevara from childhood, through his years as a revolutionary holed out in the Sierra Maestra mountains, to his later life as a senior statesmen of Cuba and finally as he sought to take the revolution to Bolivia.
Why Che´s remains are in Santa Clara city?
It was a decisive battle in Santa Clara itself, led by Guevara, which is credited as winning victory for the Castro-led rebels against the dictatorship of General Batista in 1958. Between 28-31 December 1958, Che and his motley band of guerrilla rebels derailed a train of US-backed government troops coming from Havana. The site of the battle (and the remains of the train) can still be visited in the city.
The museum and mausoleum complex is locations around 1km (less than a mile) to the south west of downtown Santa Clara.
Admission to the museum and mausoleum is free. They are open from 8am-9pm, Tues-Sat and 8am-6pm on Sundays.
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