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Plaza de Marte o Plaza de la Libertad

La Plaza de Marte, also call The Square of La Libertad, is one of the central urban spaces of this city, arisen at the end of the XVIII century, as consequence of the extensive logical development for the east part of the city.

This popular square is located in one of the most central and higher points in this "old" city, it occupies an oval space up to 5 000m2.

It was a terraced area of irregular borders where the troops of the metropolises had trained, and so its name of Campo de Marte (in allusion to the God of the war in the Greek mythology).

It is also known that in the beginnings of the XIX century (1799) it was placed the fork for the execution from the convicts to death, act that infused fear to the neighbors for what the decition of its elimination was taken in 1833.

In 1860 it was conformed like square for the recess and the population's esparcimiento in the lands given by the Captain of Militias José María Villalón and, in the second half of the XIX century a fountain was placed with the Minerva goddess's statue. With the first celebration of October 10 in Santiago de Cuba was became into The Republic's symbol.

This square was scenario of the first celebration of the facts of October 10 1868. For municipal agreement, June 12, 1899 were given the name of Plaza de La Libertad, although the santiagueros followed it calling La Plaza de Marte.

In 1902 the source of Minerva was disassembled and in this same place it was placed, as homage to the Liberator Army (Ejercito Libertador), the column of Los Veteranos that shows in the peak the phrygian cap, unit symbol, independence and sovereignty of the Republic.

Plaza de Marte

La Plaza de Marte started to have a boom at the beginning of this same century when they installed several trades, hotels, the Clinic Los Ángeles and the Normal School, among other constructions araund, that nowadays keeps its services.

In 1907 after the installation of a railroad in miniature and the marine wave, it became on the point of attraction for the population of then.

With the tram in 1908 La Plaza de Marte was divided in two areas and in the last years of the decade of 20 and beginnings of 30 a free market free of agricultural products was installed.

In the decade of 40 this public space acquires its current neoclassicist image. A remodeling that incorporates semicircular pergolas on the north and south wingers and a hemicycle that it works as scenario’s species or tribune for diverse activities.

With the arrival of the XX century several commemorative sculptures were placed inside the park, in homage to heroes of the independence wars.

The Provincial Council of East erected in 1912 a monument of height of 5 up to 10 meters to the General Joaquín Castillo Duany. To the other side, in the same date, another one dedicated to General Francisco Sánchez Hechavarría was placed, governor of Oriente in that moment. And also here it pay tribute to Perucho Figueredo, author of the National Cuban Hymn.

After the victory of the Revolution in 1959, in La Plaza de Marte in front of the Column of the Veteran ones and before the arbors, a Camilo Cienfuego Gorriarán, José Martí and Orlando Fernández Monte de Oca's statues were placed.

The popular tradition keeps alive the denomination of La Plaza de Marte, and its special location in the east boundary of the historical urban center assigns to this place the paper of leading pole of the pedestrian and vehicular flows with the modern city, at the same time that it constitutes a special place for the eventual rest and the social contact.

La Plaza de Marte is, at the present time, one of the favorite places of the residents of the city of Santiago de Cuba, since the same one has became popular also for its famous supporters' club, where the sport fans brings together in all the times of the year to exchange on any discipline.

La Plaza de Marte or Plaza de la Libertad for its history and diversity of monuments, for its privileged location constitute an exceptional space of the chore santiaguero.