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Thursday, March 15, 2012

El Cobre Welcomes Thousands of Visitors Every Day

Santiago de Cuba, March 15.- More than 3,000 travelers from the rest of the island and abroad arrive daily in the town of El Cobre, of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, attracted by its cultural, patrimonial and religious values.

According to local government official Jorge Omar Hernandez, traveling to El Cobre increase during special celebrations related to the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity, such as the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

The Church, first opened in September of 1927, has just undergone a capital repair not only for the papal visit, but also on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the finding of the venerated image, to be marked in September.

Hernandez said the town is also kown for the Monument to the Cimarron (runaway slave) sitting on top of a hill, dedicated to one of the biggest slaves’ uprising of Cuba, staged in El Cobre.

In terms of culture, El Cobre is the home town of the Cabildo Cimarron folkloric group, and the Steel Band, a group of musicians who use steel cans as instruments to play different musical genres like boleros, meringues and ballads.

Mining is the main economic activity in El Cobre. By the end of 2011, a gold mine located in the area was reopened; experts predicted the mine has reserves for five years in a first phase.

With more than 17,000 inhabitants, the town boasts a large number of self-employed workers, the majority of them dedicated to the making and selling of crafts depicting the image of the Virgin and selling flowers.

In view of the upcoming festivities, the whole town has been given a facelift, including the streets, parks, facades and public facilities. Likewise, a bridge to facilitate access from the town to the Ambrosio Grillo Clinical-Surgical Hospital will be completed this year.

El Cobre, meaning “copper” in English, owes its name to the existence in the area, back in the 17th century, of the first open-air copper mine ever exploited in the Americas. A monument in honor of the miners working in the site was built in town.(ACN)


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