BIRAN, Cuba – Biran, the eastern Cuban town where Fidel and Raul Castro were born, is preparing to celebrate the Cuban revolutionary leader’s 90th birthday on Aug. 13 amid a rise in the number of visitors to the old Castro family ranch, which was turned into a museum in 2002.
So far this year, the farm and cattle ranch in Holguin province, located 800 kilometers (about 500 miles) east of Havana, has welcomed nearly 22,000 visitors, including 9,000 foreigners, compared to a total of 27,800 visitors in 2015.
This “substantial increase” is in response to the approach of Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday, a date that Biran is awaiting with “great expectations,” said Lazaro Castro, director of the farm-museum, adding that more than 2,000 people were expected to visit on Aug. 13 alone.
Biran, like the rest of Cuba, has already started the celebrations, organizing a variety of activities in the past few months, including an exhibition of 35 photographs, some of them unpublished until now, from Castro’s childhood, teenage years and youth.
The Biran Historic Site, declared a national monument in 2008, is working on several projects, such as a hiking trail on Loma de la Yaya hill in remembrance of Castro’s passion for climbing from the time he was a child.
The family’s history in Biran dates back to November 1915, when Angel Castro Argiz, an immigrant from the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia and former soldier in the Spanish army, bought a 268-hectare (660-acre) ranch called Manacas.
Castro Argiz, the father of Fidel and Raul, expanded the ranch, buying neighboring properties and eventually amassing 12,896 hectares (31,840 acres) by 1950.