The urn with the ashes of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has arrived in the city of Santiago, the birthplace of the revolution, where he will be laid to rest.
Large crowds shouting ‘Long live Fidel!” greeted his funeral cortege.
Thousands are expected to pay their final respects shortly at a ceremony in the city’s Revolution Square.
President Raul Castro will lead the tributes. He took over when his brother’s health deteriorated in 2006.
Fidel Castro’s ashes will be buried on Sunday.
The leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia are due to attend, as is the Argentine footballer, Diego Maradona.
Former Brazilian Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff have also travelled to Cuba for the ceremony.
‘A father to us’
People waving flags and pictures of Fidel Castro have turned out to watch the cortege on its four-day journey from the capital Havana.
“All of us who love Fidel, who is a father to us. He cleared a path for us and the people will follow him,” Tania Maria Jimenez told Reuters.
She was among thousands of Cubans watching as the urn with Mr Castro’s ashes was driven past the historic Moncada barracks in Santiago.
Fidel Castro was part of the small group of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the barracks on 26 July 1953.
The attacked failed, but it was considered the first act of the revolution that would depose the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on 1 January 1959.
Opinion on Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided.
Supporters say he returned Cuba to the people and praise him for some of his social programmes, such as public health and education.
But critics call him a dictator, who led a government that did not tolerate opposition and dissent.
Fidel Castro died on 25 November aged 90.
His ashes will be placed in the Ifigenia Cemetery, where Cuban independence hero Jose Marti is buried.