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Updated May 20, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Bayamo is the second oldest village after Baracoa, founded in 1513 by Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. It was part of the former Oriente Province until the 1976 provincial rearrangement when it became the capital city of the newly-created Granma Province.

 It has historically been known as the “Rebellious City," since it has been the home of several insurgency uprisings, including the outbreak of the first war of independence against Spanish colonialism in 1868. This war gave way to an unprecedented event in Cuban history: rather than surrender the town to Spanish troops, its citizens decided to set it on fire proclaiming it the capital of the Republic in Arms, an altruistic act that subsequently resulted in the creation of Cuba’s National Anthem and a relatively modern historic center.

The town was rebuilt in colonial style whose life revolves around Céspedes Park and the main square that features a statue of the local and national hero, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who is honored today as the "Father of the Nation." Outstanding buildings, like the home of Céspedes’ birthplace which is now a museum, and the restored 1613 Cathedral of San Salvador de Bayamo, which are both the main, local architectural highlights.

Sites not to be missed encompass the nearby National Anthem Square, the Cuban Nationality House, and Revolution Square. The city's proximities offer appealing sights like La Demajagua, Céspedes’s former sugar estate; Dos Rios, where Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti found his martyrdom; and Copaynicu Botanical Garden. Bayamo’s historic turning-point incidents deservedly earned it the title of “The Cradle of Cuban Nationality” and a National Monument.

The whole area is unquestionably linked to the nation’s history and is an obliged stopover for those who plan on including the eastern part of Cuba in their itineraries.