Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What is this?

What I really should do is a little research about this building, then write an informative caption. Instead, I’ll put the picture here and see if readers will fill us in. It’s a big imposing thing, as incongruous as can be in its setting on top of the mountain just northwest of Trinidad in the Escambray. Anyone want to fill us in?

12 comments:

Rui said...

Tope de Collantes

Ernesto said...

The old sanatory has become a Gaviota Group Hotel.

Vane said...

Yes it's the old TB sanatorium. Has it become a health tourism destination?

Phil Peters said...

I would have expected Rui to be a little more informative, but he's busy in Tallahasee.

I searched, and it is a health and eco-tourism destination, called the Hotel Gaviota Kurhotel Escambray.

Was it built under Batista as a military health care facility?

Rui said...

I'm sorry, Phil. This was, at least till I left Cuba in December 93, the Topes de Collantes Sanatorium. It was built by Batista for people with Tuberculosis. And the place Castro sent Aldana after the little "argument" they had.
And, I'm back in Miami for some time... but I miss Tallahassee.

Kay Abella said...

I can't very often recognize buildings in Cuba, but this one I wrote about in my book Fighting Castro: A Love Story. It was used in the early 60s as a prison for captured anti-Castro resistance fighters. It is ironic that it is now a health destination, since the wounded prisoners there were held without medical care or adequate food and many died. It was in this building that Dr. Lino Fernandez (the book is based on his true story) waited out the days of the Bay of Pigs and finally learned of its tragic failure. Kay Abella

Rui said...

Kay, that's a fascinating story. I was not aware of it. I'll try to find your book.

Omar said...

That's the sanatorium in "Topes de Collantes", near Trinidad. I think it was buildt as a project of Batista's wife. Few meters from there you can see a sun clock. Some 5 kilometers from there you can find "El Salto del Caburni", a nice water fall. In the way from Trinidad to Topes de Collantes there is a University. I also heard that Aldana was sent there after his collapse. I've been there with my friends at least three times. We have made the two-way trip from Havana by hitchiking. We heard that all these tourist buildings are managed by the military and most tourists we saw there seemed Cubans. 6 years ago you could enjoy the surrounding with little restrictions. We were told we could not stay over night in some abandoned nearby buildings but we weren't moved away when we decided to stay. I remeber that there I saw the only Tocororo I've seen so far. Peter, that picture has brought me wonderful memories! Peter, have you gone to "Pinares de Mayari"?

Phil Peters said...

Kay, thanks very much for that comment, and thanks to you too, Omar for those memories. No, I have not been to Pinares de Mayari.

From a reader:
Fue construido en la epoca de Fulgencio Batista, destinado al tratamiento de tuberculosos.
Era mas o menos un edificio insignia de la epoca batistiana. Creo que despues de la revolucion estuvo inactivo un tiempo y despues volvio a ser reconstruido como hospital antituberculoso.

Agustin Farinas said...

Yes, it was built during Batista's Govt. prior to 1959 and to house and cure patients sick with tuberculosis. The location of The sierras of Escambray was chosen because the climate is very appropiate for the benefit of the tuberculosis patient's health.
Like every other building of importance in Cuba ,it was built before the Revolution, just like the Hermanos Almejeiras Hospital and the revolutionary Plaza. They communists claim ownership, but they were built before their time.

Anonymous said...

to follow on Kay's and Agustin's comment, isn't it also perfectly natural that at some point it was used by the regime to persecute its political opponents.

Miami Hotels said...

I saw it somewhere but I don't remember where exactly. I traveled a lot in south and north America last years thorough last minute travel. It's impossible to remember all the buildings that I saw.