“to be cultured is the only way to be free” José Martí
For a small country, Cuba has a very large soul. It’s all owing to a culture which is rich, vibrant and immensely varied. At the island’s heart are the Cubans, brought here by the trade winds from all corners of the earth to forge a new people. Amerindian Taino, Spanish, African, French, Asian and English ways of life took root in Cuba, but in the mixing of the cultures became something new and utterly distinct. The search for the essence of Cuba is perhaps what drives the vital cultural tradition here.
The island’s location at the crossroads of the Caribbean attracted waves of immigrants, whose influence lives on in the country’s visual arts, architecture, literature, dance and music, not to mention the passion for sports and the ritual of Cuban coffee. Cuban art graces the finest galleries both here and abroad; Cuban writers have shaped the development of Latin-Caribbean literature; historic architecture is celebrated with UNESCO support; Cuban music and dance is renowned the world over. Here is a country where a baseball game, classical concert or the ballet are considered a right of the people, and the price of admission is accessible to all.
Across the country, there are 256 museums focusing on history, the Revolution, music, natural science, colonial and ornamental art, weapons, cars, religion, tobacco, rum and sugar; more than 100 art galleries; around 70 theaters; 120 publishing houses; 354 public libraries; 315 community centres; 46 schools of art and an international film school.