For over two centuries, in recognition of its rich cultural life, Matanzas has been known as "Cuba's Athens." For obvious reasons, it is also called "the city of bridges."
The city was founded on the shores of a beautiful bay in 1693. At that time, it was called San Carlos y San Severino de Matanzas. Its splendid buildings are eclectic in style.
The area surrounding the city has some singularly beautiful features. The Pan de Matanzas (Matanzas Bread Loaf) Hill and the Yumurí Valley are particularly entrancing. Places to visit in the city include the Sauto Theater, the Triolet Drug Store and the San Carlos Church.
Immortalized by painters, poets and musicians, Matanzas is just a few minutes' drive from Varadero Beach and near the Zapata Peninsula.
The city of Matanzas, capital of the province of the same name, is in northwestern Cuba, 100 km. (62 miles) east of Havana and around 18 minutes from Varadero Beach. An excellent highway links Matanzas with the nation's capital.