Moncada Barracks © Fernanda LeMarie
If you are interested in the history of the revolution then visiting Moncada Barracks is something you must do in Cuba. The bullet-ridden Moncada Barracks and adjacent Parque Historico Abel Santamaria were the setting for very important events in Cuba's history.
In 1953, a group led by Fidel Castro attacked the barracks in an attempt to steal weapons and launch the revolution, but the plan failed and 61 of them were killed. The rest were captured and many tortured to death by Batista's army. Fidel was later tried in the Escuela de Enfermeras for leading the attack, and this is when he wrote his famous 'History Will Absolve Me' speech.
This failed attack is widely considered to mark the beginning of the Cuban revolution and the date of the attack, 26 July, was adopted by Castro as the name for his revolutionary movement (Movimiento 26 Julio) which succeeded in defeating Batista's dictatorship in 1959. The barracks was converted into a school after the revolution and in 1978 the perimeter walls were rebuilt and half of the building became a museum.
Address: Avenida Moncada
Opening times: Daily 9am-5pm (until 1pm on Sundays)
Admission: CUC$2; an extra CUC$1 to take photos. Free guided tours are available once inside.