Photos of Bayamo, where Cuba’s independence movement started, Cuba

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Bayamo, where Cuba’s independence movement started

Bayamo is the capital city of the Granma Province (taking its name from the yacht Granma, used by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro to land in Cuba with 82 guerrillas on 2 December 1956 on its coast) and one of the largest cities in the Oriente region. Bayamo was the second of the seven cities founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar and established on 5 November 1513. During much of the 16th Century, it was one of the island’s most important agricultural and commercial settlements.

Castro poster, Bayamo
Parque Céspedes, Bayamo
Perucho Figueredo monument, Bayamo
Statue of Céspedes, Bayamo
San Salvador Major Parish Church, Bayamo
Plaza del Himno Nacional, Bayamo
Ventana de Luz Vázquez, Bayamo
Statue of Francisco Aguilera, Bayamo
Torre de San Juan Evangelista, Bayamo
Horse-drawn carriages, Bayamo
Monument, Plaza de la Patria, Bayamo
Monument, Plaza de la Patria, Bayamo
Poster, Plaza de la Patria, Bayamo
Horse-drawn carriages, Bayamo
Paseo Bayamés, Bayamo
Los Beatles, Bayamo
Parque Museum “Ñico López”, Bayamo
Fabrica de los Coches, Bayamo
Fabrica de los Coches, Bayamo
Fabrica de los Coches, Bayamo
Quiet street, Bayamo
Loading a horse drawn cart, Bayamo
Horse drawn cart, Bayamo
Castro poster, Bayamo
In the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Village near Comandancia La Plata
View near Comandancia La Plata
Kitchen, Comandancia La Plata
Bedroom, Casa de Fidel
Casa de Fidel, Comandancia La Plata
Casa de Fidel, Comandancia La Plata
Fruit for sale, Alto de Naranjo
View, Alto de Naranjo
View to Embalse Paso Malo

The independence movement started here by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a Cuban planter who freed his slaves and declared Cuban independence in 1868. The Cuban national anthem, “La Bayamesa”, was sung for the first time here in 1868. Now it is a quiet, easygoing and slow-paced town, in more ways than one: there are about 500 licensed horse-drawn carriages serving as public transport, generally following fixed routes. About 39% of the people here rely on it. There is a factory, Fabrica de Los Coches, where wooden horse-drawn carts are produced and serviced.

About 50 kilometres southwest of Bayamo is the Sierra Maestra, within the mountains about 10 kilometres further, the Comandancia de La Plata, the camp established by Fidel Castro in 1958 after a year on the run in the mountains. Well camouflaged and remote, Batista’s soldiers never found it. It is located within the Pico Turquino National Park and can be visited. It involves a run by a four-wheel-drive vehicle over an incredibly steep road to Alto de Naranjo and a hike a couple of kilometres to the hideout that has largely been left as it was.