Interesting facts about Cuba

cuba flag

Cuba, a large Caribbean island nation under communist rule, is known for its white-sand beaches, rolling mountains, cigars and rum.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Cuba.

Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It is south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti, and north of Jamaica.

As of 1 January 2016, the population of Cuba was estimated to be 11,400,730 people.

The official language is Spanish.

With an area of 110,860 square kilometers (42,803 square miles), Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean.

Havana, Cuba’s colorful capital, is known for the Spanish colonial architecture. The city’s appreciation of its glorious colonial past is on display at a dizzying array of castles, cathedrals, mansions and museums.

havana

Cuba is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean. The island is 1,250 kilometers (780 miles) long and 191 kilometers (119 miles) across its widest points and 31 kilometers (19 miles) across its narrowest point. The country also includes Isla de la Juventud and more than 4000 other much smaller islands and cays.

Terrain is mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast.

The highest point is Pico Turquino at 1,974 meters (6,476 feet), part of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, located in the southeast of the island.

pico turquino

White sand beaches, as well as mangroves and marshes can be found in the coastal area.

Cuba has a coastline length of 5,746 kilometers (3,570 miles).

cuba coastline

Cuba’s coastline is indented by some of the world’s finest natural harbors.

The coastline includes more than 290 natural beaches.

Conjure up an image of the perfect Caribbean beach and you’ll find Cuba‘s generous shoreline fits the description perfectly: stretches of powdery, bone-white sand – often freckled with shady palm trees – and limpid, turquoise waters.

cuba beach

Cuba’s seven national parks, from the delicate wetlands at Montemar to the imposing mountains of the Sierra Maestra, protect the country’s abundance of flora and fauna.

Desembarco del Granma National Park is a national park in south-eastern Cuba, in what is now Granma Province. The park is named after the yacht in which Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, and 79 of their supporters sailed from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 and incited the Cuban Revolution. It was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site because of its marine terraces and pristine sea cliffs.

desembarco del granma national park

Cuba has 9 UNESCO world heritage site.

The historic neighborhood of Vieja Habana (Old Havana) is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, with over 900 landmarks, including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral Square.

old havana

Morro Castle, named after the three biblical Magi, is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana, Cuba. The design was drawn up by the Italian engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli; originally under the control of Spain, the fortress was captured by the British in 1762, and was returned to the Spanish under treaty terms a year later.

morro castle

The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista. It became the Museum of the Revolution during the years following the Cuban revolution.

museum of Revolution cuba

El Capitolio, or National Capitol Building in Havana, was the seat of government in Cuba until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences. “El Capitolio” has a size of 207 by 90 meters (681 by 300 feet) Its design and name recall the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Completed in 1929, it was the tallest building in Havana until the 1950s and houses the world’s third largest indoor statue.

el capitolio cuba

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Valle de los Ingenios was one of Cuba’s most famous centers of sugar production during the 18th and 19th centuries

valle de los ingenios

Original indigenous inhabitants of Cuba were The Taíno (an Arawak people), the Guanajatabey, and the Ciboney people. In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived on the island and claimed it as a Spanish territory.

Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish-American War of 1898 when the country became part of the United States. This was only brief though, the country was given independence in 1902.

The United States had a strong influence over the island until 1959, when communist revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro, took over. The country remains one of the world’s four self-declared communist states today, although Castro himself stepped aside in 2008 due to health complications.

fidel castro

Tourism in Cuba is an industry that generates over 3 million arrivals per year, and is one of the main sources of revenue for the island.

Sugar from sugar cane is the main crop grown in Cuba, followed by tobacco which is used in the making of hand-crafted cigars that are famous for being the finest cigars in the world.

cuban cigars

Cuban cuisine is a blend of Native American Taino food, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. Ropa vieja [photo below], Spanish for “old clothes,” is a Cuban national dish consisting of stewed beef with vegetables.

ropa vieja

Rum is known a typical Cuban drink. It is the basic ingredient of cocktails like Cuba Libre, Mojito, Cubanitos etc.

rum cuba

Cuba is renown for its music, bands play everywhere in the capital Havana. The main musical form is called son, which is a combination of upbeat rhythms with classical guitar.

cuba havana music

There is a statue of John Lennon from The Beatles in the country of Cuba. It was erected in 2000 by Fidel Castro, after Castro declared John Lennon to be a music revolutionary.

statue of john lennon cuba

Because Fidel Castro has chosen not to create a cult of personality, inside Cuba there are no streets, buildings, institutions or localities named for him.

The only cars that Cuban citizens can own legally are cars created and bought before 1959. After this year, the Cuban government seized all of the cars, and owns them all to this day. Most of the pre-1959 cars in the country are from the United States.

cuba cars

When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he immediately ordered all game sets of Monopoly to be destroyed.

In 1940, 12-year-old Cuban boy Fidel Castro wrote to US President Franklin Roosevelt to request a $10 note. “Never I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them,” the future Cuban leader wrote.

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, which is one of the highest in the world.

book

The average salary in Cuba in 2013 was 471 pesos or US$20 a month.

Every Cuban household had (and still has) a ration book (or libreta) entitling it to a monthly supply of food and other staples, provided at nominal cost.

The game of dominoes is extremely popular in Cuba.

cuba dominoes

 

Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his most famous works “For Whom the Bell Tells” when he was living in Cuba.

Government vehicles in Cuba are legally required to pick up any hitchhikers.

JFK bought 1,200 Cuban cigars just hours before signing the embargo against Cuba.

The Soviet Union had transferred over 150 nuclear weapons to Cuba by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in almost a century.

Only two countries in the world are not allowed to sell Coca-Cola officially: North Korea and Cuba.

Christmas was not an official holiday in Cuba until 1997. Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1998, and in order to prepare for his visit, Cuba declared Christmas a national holiday.

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