Founded in 1513, Bayamo was the second of seven settlements that Governor Diego Velázquez established in Cuba. Built in the colonial style, it has public squares, majestic mansions and a very old cathedral. On October 20, 1868, ten days after the beginning of the Ten Years' War, Bayamo was proclaimed capital of the Republic in Arms.
Two events of key importance in Bayamo's and Cuba's history took place during the first few months of the war. Cuba's National Anthem was sung for the first time -on October 20, 1868- here, and the inhabitants of the city burned it down on January 12, 1869, rather than see it fall into the hands of the Spaniards.
Because of these and other history-making events that took place here, Bayamo is known as "the birthplace of the Cuban nation" and has been declared a national monument.
One of Bayamo's most deeply-rooted traditions is that of taking horse-and-buggy rides. These vehicles are the most appropriate means for exploring the city's narrow streets and viewing some of its most important buildings and squares, such as the house in which Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (now honored as the Homeland's Father) was born, the San Salvador de Bayamo Parish Church, the Himno (National Anthem) Square, the cathedral, the Revolution Square, Luz Vazquez's Window, Cuban Nationality House and Ñico López Park-Museum.
While visiting Bayamo, take the opportunity to see La Demajagua, Dos Ríos and the Cupaynicú Botanical Gardens, in the surrounding area. They are worth the trip.