13 Curious Facts About Cuba
Culture Its distinct cigars, lush beaches and bustling nightlife are world-famous, but there's plenty you most likely don't know about the Caribbean's largest island.
1. Snow in paradise
According to the Hartford Daily Courant, it has snowed only once in Cuba. It happened March 12, 1857, in Cardenas.
2. Sight to see
The FOCSA Building is the tallest structure in Cuba at 121 meters high. Constructed in 1956, it is located in Vedado, a central business district and urban neighborhood in Havana, and considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering.
3. Game off
When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he insisted all game sets of Monopoly be destroyed immediately.
4. Toothy trivia
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Antilles,” Cuba has also been dubbed “El Cocodrilo”—Spanish for “alligator." The term refers to the aerial view, which resembles the toothy creature.
5. Burning bridges
On New Year’s Eve Cubans burn dolls to forget bad times and look forward to happier experiences.
6. Deep history
Tourists traveling to Havana's Cemetario Cristobal Colon, also known as "Colon Cemetery," can explore more than 500 chapels, vaults and mausoleums, including the graves of famous citizens.
7. Losing liquor
Bacardi rum was originally manufactured in Cuba. The brand moved to Puerto Rico after Castro’s takeover.
8. Toeing the line
In Cuba, ballerinas are wildly popular. According to lifebuzz.com, these dancers often earn more money than doctors.
9. Mouth to mouth
Cubans don't usually write down their recipes. Instead, the ingredients and instructions are passed down from generation to generation, through stories and shared experiences.
10. Color coded
According to Discovery Channel's “Cuban Chrome,” every child in Cuba between the ages of 6 and 15 is required to attend elementary school. They must also wear uniforms, with different colors for each grade level.
11. Find your groove
Cabildos are social gatherings organized by the mostly African population where different groups are invited to play their music. Categories of Cuban music include son—the national folk music of Cuba—rumba and danzón, which ultimately led to the cha-cha-cha.
12. Renaissance men
Twenty years ago, the maximum price a Cuban artwork could go for in the market was $25,000. Cuban painting actually began in the late 1700s, but it wasn't until the 19th century, when the San Alejandro Academy was founded, that it took off.
Two of the most respected 20th century Cuban artists are Amelia Peláez, recognized for a series of mural projects, and painter Wifredo Lam.
13. In the driveway
Residents are allowed to own two houses in Cuba: one in Havana, the other on the beach or in the country. As for transportation, there was an import ban on automobiles until 2011, meaning the majority of vehicles on the road were classic cars from the 1950s.