One of the more well known sites in Holguin City is Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross). You can see the cross from just about every point in Holguin City… and alternatively, you can see most of Holguin City from the top of the hill and fortress.

To get to the cross you can either climb 450+ stairs or drive to the top. If you choose to walk be prepared for an onslaught of touts trying to sell dried out low quality Cuban cigars.

The story behind the cross starts on May 3, 1790 when during a drought friar Francisco Antonio de Alegría strapped the cross to his back and climbed the hill to place it at the top. Every year since on May 3rd, worshipers pilgrimage to the top to to celebrate Romerias de le Cruz de Mayo. The original cross has since rotted away and in it’s place is the third rendition of the wooden artifact.

Beside the landmark is a small fortress occupied by artisans and musicians; in taking the staircase to the top you reach the fortress first. Both the fortress and stairs came much later in the hill’s history (earlier pilgrims had to climb the hill without the help of stairs): during the 1950s.