Santiago, historical city • Cuba

Experience the fascinating history of the 17th-century Spanish fortress Castillo del Moro, groove to the traditional music at Casa de la Trova, and dive into the history of the Moncada Barracks. Our 10-minute video, accompanied by detailed explanatory text, takes you on a journey to Santiago de Cuba. Don't miss this chance to discover this historical and cultural treasure. Watch now!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Cuba (EN)

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Cuba. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

00:22 • Santiago bay

01:09 • el Castillo del Moro

03:07 • St Iphigenia cemetery

03:41 • Moncada barracks

04:10 • some pictures of the city

05:12 • La Casa de la Trova

08:37 • El Cobre


Santiago de Cuba

Founded in 1514 by the Spanish, Santiago is ideally located from a strategic point of view. A deep bay with a narrow pass makes it possible to accommodate merchant ships while being able to ensure their protection.

However, the Spanish crown had other concerns at the time, and the city of Santiago remained on its own for many years. This did not prevent the local trade with other islands from enriching the merchants, but they have always been confronted with the problem of pirates who infested the waters of the Caribbean.

It was not until 1637 that the Spaniards became aware of the economic importance of this city on the island of Cuba.

Castillo del Morro (or castle of San Pedro de la Roca)

So they decided to fortify the entrance to the port by building an imposing fortress that was to be part of the defense system of the southern coast of the country against pirates.

This fort was to serve as a prison during the war of independence at the end of the 9th century.

The Castillo del Morro was abandoned for decades and was restored from 1980 before being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Moncada barracks

This barracks housing the soldiers of Fulgencio Batista was attacked by a handful of revolutionaries on July 26, 1953. It was the first stage of the Cuban revolution which was to expel Batista in 1959. The facade of the barracks has been preserved as it is to testify to this historic event. The bullet holes are still visible there. Most of the attackers were killed the same day. This barracks became a school and a museum after the Cuban revolution. See the video "Some places steeped in history" in this series.

the Sainte Iphigénie cemetery

The Sainte Iphigénie cemetery in Santiago is a necropolis founded in 1868. Numerous personalities rest there. Among them, Compay Secundo, Fidel Castro, Emilio Bacardi and José Marti.

La Casa de la Trova

The Casa de la Trova is a Mecca of Cuban music. Concerts are organized there daily.

El Cobre

A few kilometers from Santiago are the oldest open-cast copper mines discovered by the conquistadors, at a place called El Cobre (copper). The operation of the mine recently ceased.

El Cobre is also a place of pilgrimage thanks to the Notre Dame de la Charité basilica which overlooks the village.

about the place, Santiago de Cuba:

Santiago de Cuba is Cuba's second largest city with a population of just over half a million. This city is located in the South-East of Cuba. 

Santiago is an important fishing port but also for the export of raw materials such as copper or agricultural products. 

The city was founded in 1514 by Diego Velazquez de Cuellar and was very quickly the most important city of Cuba and then of the Caribbean thanks to its sheltered port at the bottom of a deep bay commanded by a narrow pass, therefore relatively easy to defend against attacks by pirates or European powers in competition with Spain.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Santiago has been an important port in Cuba since the 16th century. Its strategically ideal location quickly made it one of the most important ports in the region. And despite its protected port in a bay with a narrow passage, Santiago was regularly the object of attacks by pirates who infested the Caribbean Sea.


After long years of insecurity, the Spanish crown ordered the construction of a fort to defend the port of Santiago. This fort is called "el castillo del moro".


Many important personalities of Cuba are buried in the Saint Iphigenia cemetery in Santiago. Among them, Compay Segundo and Fidel Castro.


Sainte Iphigénie cemetery, Santiago de Cuba • Cuba

What's the weather like in Santiago de Cuba?


 - YouTube video library - Achilles, (© Alchemists Tower - Strings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Alchemists tower, (© Alchemists Tower - Strings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Dramatic Swarm

 - YouTube video library - For the Fallen, (© For the Fallen by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - Ignosi, (© Ignosi by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of cuban traditional music in "Santiago, historical city • Cuba ", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Moncada barracks, Santiago de Cuba • Cuba

Moncada barracks

Ste Iphigenie cemetery, Santiago de Cuba • Cuba

Ste Iphigenie cemetery

Castillo del Moro, Santiago de Cuba • Cuba

Castillo del Moro

Santa Basilica Metropolitana Iglesia, Santiago de Cuba • Cuba

Santa Basilica Metropolitana Iglesia

Santiago de Cuba

© 2020 - 2024 • Jean-Marie Putz, PutzProductions