Places - Cuba's Eastern Region

Santa Ifigenia-Santiago

Nestled peacefully on the city's western extremity, the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia is second only to Havana's Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón in its importance and grandiosity. Created in 1868 to accommodate the victims of the War of Independence and a simultaneous yellow-fever outbreak, the Santa Ifigenia includes many great historical figures among its 8000-plus tombs, notably the mausoleum of José Martí.  Others worthy of mention buried here include the now disgraced first president of Cuba, Tomas Estrada Palma; Emilio Bacardi, founder of the rum dynasty and both the widow and mother of Cuba’s hero of the war of independence, Antonio Maceo.  The list goes on and one with other notables such as Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club fame, the martyrs of the 1953 Moncada Barracks and the father of Cuban Independence, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.  The highlight of the cemetery, for most, is the quasi-religious mausoleum to national hero José Martí (1853–95). Erected in 1951 during the Batista era, the imposing hexagonal structure is positioned so that Martí's wooden casket (draped solemnly in a Cuban flag) receives daily shafts of sunlight.