José Martí Memorial: 25 years of the highest tribute

José Martí Memorial: 25 years of the highest tribute
Fecha de publicación: 
29 January 2021
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Just on the eve of the 168th anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s National Hero José Martí, the Memorial bearing his name in Havana, is celebrating its first 25 years.

It was the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro who gave the idea to turn the highest monument of José Martí —142m above the sea level— into a facility of eternal tribute to the mastermind behind the Moncada Barrack’s attack.

At the end of the opening tour, Fidel said: “You are happy that a man like him has been given this beautiful tribute, so aesthetic. It is really beautiful everything in here. The conception has been excellent. Then, we do have a Memorial now. We thought we had one with the Monument and a star. I think many people will come here now. All Cubans will visit the place.”

This quarter of a century has proven him right. Many Cubans and foreign citizens, including heads of states and other celebrities, have visited this symbolic historical-cultural facility, witness of major events that have been paramount in the history of our nation such as parades, marches, and memorable speeches delivered by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution.

Some interesting data:

  • The sculpture representing José Martí was chiseled at the base of the Monument by Juan José Sicre between October 15th and August 15th 1958. It is made of 52 marble pieces and 18-meters tall. In front of it, there are six pillars representing the six provinces of Cuba back in the time.
  • It is the tallest Monument ever built in memory of the National Hero of Cuba. Its viewpoint is regarded as the tallest geographic point in Havana.
  • It has the structure of a five-pointed star where exhibition rooms are distributed, a theater hall, and an art gallery dedicated to temporary exhibitions of different artistic expressions.
  • It is encased in Grey Cuban marble from the El Abra quarries, Isle of Youth, where teenager Martí spent his first exile years.
  • More than 35,000 tons of steel and more than 24,000 tons of marble were used for the construction of the Monument. In 2021, according to the Memorial Facebook profile, they celebrate 60 years of its definitive construction.
  • On January, the first design of the current Revolution Square turns 95 years, known as Gran Plaza Cívica de la Loma de los Catalanes and later Plaza de la República.
  • The Monument viewpoint, the tallest point in Havana’s geography, with a vision range of 50 kilometers on sunny days, resumed activities to the public on February 2017 after three-years closure.

Among the most remarkable events the José Martí Memorial has hosted, we have the posthumous homage paid to the Commander in Chief on November 28th, 2016, as well as the tribute paid in 1997 to the remains of Che Guevara and his guerrilla brothers, its Reinforcement Detachment.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Memorial, Miguel Díaz-Canel, back then First Vice-President of the Council of States of Ministers, stated that “This place brings us closer to José Martí, this Martí who is vital in our project of nation and the balance of the world.”

That’s the way it has been so far, and the way it will be.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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