In a small coastal town, about an hour east of Havana, in Matanzas is a city known for it’s bridges and for being the first modern city since it was planned before it was inhabited by the Spanish from the Canary Islands.
Officially called San Carlos y San Severino de Matanzas, the old colonial town reached its cultural glory in the 19th century, when sugar cane was the golden crop.
A few know Matanzas as the city with one of the only mummies in Cuba. Town historian Ercilo Vento said he was 16, when the mummy of a woman was discovered in the town’s cemetery June 26, 1965.
To signal that it was an embalmed mummified body, records show it was marked with the letters J.P.L.
In 1980, Vento said a vandal got into her tomb and cut off her head. Vento, who is also a medical examiner, said he decided to guard the mummy at his home for about 25 years.
He eventually identified the woman as Josefa Ponce de Leon, an aristocrat who was not related to the conquistador by the same last name. She never wed or had children.