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Havana - interesting places to visit.

Havana - interesting places to visit.

 Havana - interesting places to visit

Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, Cuba
Old Square / Plaza Vieja.

The former Market Place from the seventeenth century is surrounded by beautiful arcades, many of them with colored glasses and windows with louvers. The variety of buildings on this plaza responds to 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th

centuries. Among the most beautiful is the Jaruco Mansion. The ongoing rehabilitation program has rescued several outstanding buidings like the Santo Angel School or the Café Taberna where very attractive restaurants has been installed. Palacio Cueto, one of the most relevant Art Nouveau exponent in town is now rehabilitated for a hotel.

Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Cuba
Arms Square / Plaza de Armas.

This plaza, located by the harbor ´s entrance channel is very close to the site where Havana was founded. Its most impressing landmarks are the Palaces of the Captain General and Second Corporal or Segundo Cabo, both from the 18th century.
Also the royal Force Fortress, a 16th century unique

military exponent, the 19th century small Neoclassical temple or Templete, dedicated to commemorate the foundation of the town and the magnificent Santa Isabel Hotel on a recently rehabilitated 18th century mansion.

Plaza de San Francisco de Asis in Old Havana, Cuba
San Francisco Square / Plaza de San Francisco.

Located by the harbor and presided by the 18th century Franciscan Convent , it is one of the most beautiful spots in the Old Town, with its gracious Fountain of Lions and cobbled pavement. The Mercurio Restaurant has been installed on the recently renovated Lonja de Comercio or Stock Exchange Building, a Neo Renaissance 1906


Another achievement of the rehabilitation program are the quite refined Café del Oriente and various shops around. Just in front, between the waterfront and the Plaza, is the handsome and huge former customs building from 1914.

Cathedral of Havana
Cathedral Square / Plaza de la Catedral.

The last square built within the city walls, is surrounded by astounding 18th century mansions, most of them with arcaded galleries and balconies, among the best examples of Cuban Colonial architecture.
The 1777 Cathedral has a beautiful facade, of an

Italian influence, is the focal element and the most impressive building. It is considered the most relevant Cuban Baroque building. Several museums, art galleries and restaurants have been installed on this plaza.

Capitolio Havana

The Capitol / Capitolio

Inspired on the impressive Neoclassical Revival of the Washington Capitol, the Capitolio, located on Prado Avenue, was inaugurated in 1929 to house the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate of the Republic. Its monumental spaces, like the so called Hall of the Lost Paths, are now occupied by the Academy of Science, Technology and Environment, the Science Library and the Felipe Poey National Museum of Natural History.

An impressive and huge bronze sculpture named "The Republic" awaits you at the main entrance.

Ambos Mundos Hotel

Hotel Ambos Mundos
One block from the Arms Square is Ernest Hemingway's favorite hotel and his first residence in Cuba in the thirties. The Ambos Mundos Hotel was also a gathering place for artists and intellectuals of the day. After years of neglect, this Eclectic building was rehabilitated and has become a main attraction, from its crowded lobby and old Otis elevator to the agreeable rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a fabulous view of the city and

drink a Cuban "mojito".

Morro-Cabaña militar park in Havana, Cuba The Morro - Cabaña Historical Military Park.

Until 1762 Havana had been an inexpugnable enclave , mainly regarding attacks from corsairs and pirates. But in 1762 the British invaded Havana strongly scaring the Spanish crown. After the Spaniards regained the town, they decided to

reinforce their defenses and so build the most powerful fortresses in the Americas.

San Carlos de la Cabaña, that was finally completed at the end of the 18th century, together with other major fortresses as Atarés and El Príncipe out of the city walls.

Currently the Fortresses of San Carlos de la Cabaña and the older Morro Castle compose the Morro - Cabaña Historical Military Park, the largest museum in the country. Two permanent exhibitions showcase the history of navigation in Havana Harbor with exhibits of objects salvaged from a ship that sank at the harbor´ s entrance in the 18th century. The Park also hosts temporary exhibits on a variety of themes.

Every evening at 9:00 pm a cannon shot can be heard at La Cabaña. This longstanding tradition is related to the Colonial times when the closing of the city’s doors was thus announced. From Morro and La Cabaña Castles it is possible to enjoy privileged views of the other side of the town , the harbor and its impressive entrance channel as well as romantic sunsets.

La Punta Fortress in Old Havana, Cuba

San Salvador de la Punta Fortress

In front of the Morro Castle on the opposite side of the harbor ´s entrance channel is La Punta Castle. Both fortresses and some other minor

ones on the coastlinewere built between 1589 and 1630 by y Italian Engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli as part of the Caribbean defensive system. A didactic museum on Nautical Archaeology has been opened here, after the full restoration of the Castle.

Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba
Cristóbal Colón Cemetery.

Cristóbal Colón Cemetery, dates back to 1876. Many of its tombstones are true works of art with sculptures and ornaments in marble, granite, stones or bronze. Many of these valuable monuments, belong to the 19th and early 20th centuries and show varied Neoclassical, Eclectic, Art Deco and even Modern designs.

Havana University

Founded in 1728 and initially located in Old Havana as a religious entity, the University moved to its current venue in 1902, in the very core of El Vedado Quarter. Most of its monumental buildings built in Neoclassic Revival are from the twenties and thirties.
A huge and imposing staircase allows to arrive to the

Univeristy of Havana

main entrance where a spectacular bronze statue, the Alma Mater, seems to welcome you. Inside, is the Plaza Cadenas, surrounded by colonnaded buildings, where many historic events have taken place. The University has had to expand beyond these walls.

See other places of Architectural interest in Cuba:

Also check on Cuban Architecture
  History of Cuban Architecture
  History of Architecture in Havana
  Interesting Places

                    <<back to Cuban Architecture main page


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