From funky street murals to the reverence shown to key personalities, you can’t escape la revolución in Cuba. Here, we’ve picked the unmissable revolution sites that will tell Cuba’s story.
t The striking exterior of Moncada Barracks
The revolution was launched with an audacious attack on these army barracks in Santiago de Cuba by Fidel’s revolutionaries on 26 July 1953. It is now a school, but there is a superb museum inside dedicated to the infamous assault on site.
Havana’s most important museum is housed in Batista’s former presidential palace and gives visitors a good overview of the revolution’s origins, events and outcomes. To the rear, the Granma Memorial displays the yacht Granma (encased in glass), which brought Fidel and 81 other revolutionaries from Mexico in 1956.
The site of the main battle during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion is now home to a superb museum, with extensive maps, photographs and gory mementos. You can also see early 20th-century Soviet and US tanks here.
The Complejo Escultórico Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara in Santa Clara features a massive statue of Cuba’s adopted hero. It is surrounded by murals showing the life of the Argentine Marxist’s exploits. Beneath the relaxed silhouette of Guevara, a mausoleum contains Che’s remains. Don’t miss the fabulous museum, which displays many of his personal artifacts.
A steady stream of visitors bring roses to lay at Fidel Castro’s simple grave every day. Appropriately, the burial place of Cuba’s first Communist leader is marked by an unassuming boulder bearing a bronze plaque that simply says “Fidel”. It is not insignificant that he was laid to rest next to the mausoleum of national hero José Martí in the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia.
Follow in the footsteps of revolutionaries on a guided tour with The Nation (www.thenation.com).
Cuba for Revolution Sites
A key figure in Castro’s government.
This fomer guerilla fighter became Fidel Castro’s secretary.
Raúl Castro’s wife founded the Cuban Women’s Federation.
A significant Cuban diplomat who fought with the rebel army.
The fighter became Che Guevara’s wife.