Cuba’s highest peak is known as Pico Turquino, which roughly translates to “Turquoise Peak,” so called because of the shockingly blue skies that surround. At the zenith stands a large bust of José Martí, the nation’s martyr and patron saint.
José Martí, the 19th century poet politician who dedicated his life to the liberation of Cuba from Spain, is one of the most important figures in the island’s history. His bust was placed atop Pico Turquino in 1953, to commemorate a century since Martí’s birth. Fittingly, it also happened to be the year Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution began.
As a youth in the mid-1800s, Martí was deported to Spain for disloyalty to the crown. He spent several years in academia, earning degrees in philosophy and law and teaching university. After moving around Latin America, he returned to Cuba, only to be deported once more and separated from his family. Martí lived the rest of his life in exile, working as a journalist and championing the cause of Cuban independence.