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Guardians of Cuban History

The Cuban archipelago, which boasts many natural attractions, including sun and beach options, has become a major tourist destination in the Caribbean region and is visited by thousands of foreign vacationers from all over the world every year.

Hundreds of kilometers of coastline, crystal-clear water, fine sand and a moderate climate all year around turn the Caribbean Island into an excellent place for tourists who want to escape from their country's harsh winter.

In addition to being a safe country, Cuba offers a wide range of cultural and historic options for vacationers.

Since Genoese Admiral Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba in 1492, the island nation has gathered and protected more than 500 years of history, including archeological sites where visitors can learn about the life and culture of those who lived on the Caribbean Island before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.

Cuba has a large infrastructure of nearly 290 museums, including 14 on art, seven on science and technology, five on ethnography and anthropology and 68 on history.

Another nine museums are specialized, 164 exhibit general collections, and four deal with archeology. There are also typical museums such as those on Rum and Tobacco.

In addition to their historic significance, museums are unique options for tourists interested in getting first-hand information about Cuban society, its evolution and its present situation.

Havana is the country's cultural hub, boasting a wide range of museums, many of which are unique in the island nation.

One of the main attractions in the Cuban capital is its defensive system, which consists of nine large fortresses that make up one of the most relevant architectural complexes in the Spanish-speaking Americas.

In Havana's historic heart, declared Humankind's Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), nearly 140 buildings were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, another 200 were constructed in the 18th century and more than 460 in the 19th century.

The second major historic center in Cuba is Camagüey, formerly known Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe and often called the city of "tinajones" (large earthenware jars), due to those peculiar containers, which were used to collect rainwater for human consumption centuries ago and decorate parks and gardens at present.

Also in eastern Cuba is Granma province, which holds 48 percent of all historic sites on the island, including its main city, Bayamo, which was declared a National Monument and was the capital of the Republic in Arms at the beginning of the 1868 independence war.

For its part, Santiago de Cuba treasures a historic wealth that is more than 480 years old, including the largest and most complete example of European renaissance military engineering in the Caribbean region, made up of the Castles of San Pedro de La Roca and La Estrella, and La Socapa Battery.

In eastern Cuba, vacationers can travel to the first village founded by the Spanish conquistador in 1512, Nuestra Serñora de Asunción de Baracoa, where they can also visit a number of fortresses built during the Spanish colonial period.

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