Its foundation goes back to the year 1693 under the name of San Severino and San Carlos, also known as the Venice of America by its hydrographic characteristics and also as the Cuban Athens by its commercial and cultural development. Having so many paths over rivers and water streams induced the city to be called the City of Bridges. By mid the XIX century that peculiar commercial prosperity lead people to also call the city the American Naples. Matanzas Bay, one of the most important in the country by its size and location, harbors a remarkable reception, distribution and oil storage infrastructure providing the city a modernity touch, along with the possibility of docking large tonnage tankers.
Architecture and History
Sauto Theater, officially opened in 1863, is presented as a Cultural Heritage, not only of the province itself but of the whole nation, holding the Title of Cuban National Monument. Plaza de la Vigía, the first barrack square in the old city enclosures historical values of the city, represented in different buildings like The Firehouse, the old Customs Office and Palacio de Junco, current museum. One of its most important attractions is the Pharmaceutical Museum, located at an ancient drugstore founded on January 1882 operating until late 1964.
The already mentioned French drugstore, unique on its type in the city, shows old instruments used back then to produce medicine, as well as numerous China pots, handcrafted and painted. At the area where drugs were prepared we can even find prescription books with recipes for over a million original formulas; and also the Bronze medal achieved by those specialists at the Universal Exhibition in Paris on 1900.
This museum is dedicated to all cultural manifestations, with an ample variety of paintings, engravings, sculptures, exhibits and furniture, among other art pieces of remarkable quality. One of the areas visitors prefer the most is the hall dedicated to all the paintings and engravings representing the city if Matanzas from the 19th and 20th centuries and universal art pieces from France, England and Holland.
Palacio de Junco
This is a palace that was built in 1838 in Spanish colonial times; it enclosures the Museo Provincial since 1980, where visitors can discover in this tour the ancient Spanish colonial style and be able to notice the contrast in the life style of those rich native landowners and that of the slaves in charge of cultivating and producing sugar and coffee.
It is located in one of those Forts built in the past 18th century with the purpose of protecting the city from the attacks of Corsairs and Pirates. Inside there are exhibits of ancient aborigine archeological pieces, being this area the most populated area by Cuba’s first inhabitants; as well as personal belongings of Antonio Guiteras and the Venezuelan Carlos Aponte, relevant personalities of the first half of the 20th century.
Having so many attractions, just to mention a few, Matanzas the City of Bridges is in optimal conditions to reveal its secrets to the thousands of tourists that visit the city every year, covered by the nearby beach of Varadero, La Ciénaga de Zapata and the natural wealth of the region.