The history of the capital of Cuba has more than 500 years. During this time, the city has acquired a unique and distinctive look and color. The area of Old Havana is listed by UNESCO as a heritage of mankind. The number of architectural monuments per unit area is simply over the top. Among them are ancient defensive fortresses, ancient squares with colonial buildings, the Cathedral of St. Christopher, the majestic Capitol, the Malecon embankment, etc.
Havana can also offer a vibrant entertainment program. Every night is filled with Caribbean rhythms and the fun of nightclubs and cabarets. Colorful festivities, carnival processions with incendiary dances, music, luxurious outfits and a sea of positive emotions are regularly held in the city. In addition, 20 km of excellent beaches, water activities, and notable fishing are adapted for recreation.
What to see and where to go in Havana?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
- Embankment Malecon
- Revolution square
- Memorial to José Marti
- Plaza de Armas
- Plaza Vieja
- Boulevard Prado
- Grand Theater of Havana
- Museum of the Revolution
- National Museum of Fine Arts
- Napoleonic Museum
- Ernest Hemingway House Museum
- Rum Museum Havana Club
- Cathedral of Havana
- Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
- Havana Christ
- La Real Fuerza
- El Morro
- San Carlos de la Cabaña
- University of Havana
- Palace of the Captain-Generals
- Cemetery Colon
- Tropicana Cabaret
The grandiose government building in the Renaissance style was opened in 1929. It is larger than the similar structure in Washington. Since 1960, one of the Cuban ministries, a historical museum, and a scientific and technical library have been located here. A luxurious staircase with two 6-meter sculptures on the sides leads to the main entrance. Massive bronze doors are decorated with bas-reliefs on the history of Cuba. Under the dome in the floor of the Capitol there is a zero kilometer mark.
It was built at the beginning of the 20th century in order to protect urban structures from being washed away by water. Length - 7 km. It covers 14 quarters with modern and old buildings, many monuments to national heroes and historical events. Venue of the annual Havana Carnival. UNESCO promotes the restoration of historic buildings - they acquire bright colored facades. Lots of shops, restaurants, hotels. The tallest building in the capital, a 24-storey hospital, was built here.
It began to be built during the reign of Batista and was called the Civil or Republic. After the Cuban Revolution in the late 50s, it was renamed and became the venue for all rallies and demonstrations. The largest square in the capital, can accommodate up to 1.5 million people. Among the main objects is the marble memorial of José Marti with the tallest tower in the city. As well as a huge portrait of Che Guevara, fixed on the facade of the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Memorial to José Marti
Opened in 1958 on Revolution Square. It consists of a five-pointed 109-meter tower and an 18-meter statue of a Cuban poet and revolutionary. The pedestal near the monument is used as a tribune during rallies and celebrations. At the top of the tower is an observation deck, the highest in Havana. Inside there is a museum, the exhibits of which are connected with the creativity and political activities of the national hero, as well as with the history of the Revolution Square.
Plaza de Armas
The oldest square in Havana - the Armory - was founded by the Spaniards in 1519 for ceremonial events and military drill. It acquired its modern look in the 18th century. Notable buildings include the El Tempo Chapel, the Palace of the Captain Generals, and the 5-star Santa Isabel Hotel in an 18th-century palace. In the center is the monument to Carlos Manuel de Cespendes. There is a famous book market on the square, where they sell old magazines, books and paintings, small souvenirs.
Appearing in 1559, the Old Square managed to be a place of rest, a shopping center, a territory for executions, processions, and bullfights. It acquired its modern look in the 18th century, when arcades were built along the perimeter. The architecture of the buildings intertwines different styles from baroque to modernism. It houses the Photo Library, Art Gallery, Visual Arts Center. Lots of bars and cafes. In the center is a fountain from 1796. Musicians play every evening.
The main walking area of Havana with shady trees, lanterns, lion sculptures and marble benches. Length - 2 km. It originates from Central Park and stretches to the embankment. Leads its history from the XVIII century. However, it acquired its present appearance after reconstruction in 1929. Along the street are the Capitol, the House of Science, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Moorish House, the Wedding Palace, hotels and other buildings. Near the bar "Floridita" - a monument to Hemingway.
Grand Theater of Havana
Leads its history since 1838. Although it acquired its current Baroque appearance in 1915. One of the most beautiful buildings in Havana. Its facade and interior are decorated with statues of the Italian master Moretti. It has several concert and rehearsal halls, many galleries, a choir center. The main hall of Garcia Lorca has 1500 seats. Home stage of the national ballet. Venue for festivals of ballet, jazz, Caribbean culture, theater, etc.
Museum of the Revolution
Was founded in 1959. It is located in the building of the former Presidential Palace. It consists of 30 halls, in which about 9 thousand exhibits are presented. Museum exhibitions reflect the history of the struggle of the Cuban people for their independence, from the colonial seizure of the island by the Spaniards and ending with the events of the Cuban Revolution, as well as the period after 1959. Some of the exhibits are located in the square behind the museum. These are samples of equipment that took part in military events.
National Museum of Fine Arts
It was created in 1913. The largest art museum in the country. Its expositions are located in 2 buildings. The Palace of Fine Arts contains a collection of works by Cuban masters dating back to the 18th century. All schools and trends are represented, more than 1200 paintings, sculptures and engravings. The Asturian Center exhibits paintings by European and American painters. Particular attention is paid to the Flemish and Spanish artists of the 19th century. The art of the ancient world is also presented.
Gallery of modern art on the territory of the former plant for the production of vegetable oil. Opened in 2014. The most fashionable place in Havana, where creative life is in full swing around the clock. Samples of modern painting and literature, photography and sculpture are presented. Live music sounds, parties, shows, receptions, enchanting performances are regularly held. Many bars with a large selection of cocktails at affordable prices. On the roof there is a restaurant with original cuisine.
The basis for the creation of the museum was the collection of the Cuban magnate Julio Lobo, a great admirer of Napoleon. Today, the museum funds contain about 8 thousand exhibits, the main of which is a death mask taken by the personal doctor of the French emperor. Also on display are furniture, weapons, clothes from the era of Bonaparte, his personal belongings, sculptures and paintings, a library of 5,000 volumes in different languages. The expositions are located in a 4-storey old mansion.
Ernest Hemingway House Museum
Finca la Vigia, an estate in southeastern Havana, was donated to the government by Hemingway's wife after his death. The writer spent 20 years here. The house is located on a hill near the sea. Inside, the atmosphere that was during the lifetime of the master is recreated. His fishing and hunting trophies, weapons, photographs are hung on the walls, dishes are placed in the dining room, 9 thousand books are stored on the shelves. In the courtyard there is a boat on which Hemingway liked to go to sea.
Rum Museum "Havana Club"
Opened in 2000 on the initiative of the company that produces the world's best-selling rum. Located in old Havana, on two floors of a historic building from the 18th century. Visitors are shown a workshop for the manufacture of barrels for aging rum, the main stages of its production. Models of Cuban factories and the railway are presented. On weekends, you can listen to Cuban musical groups in the museum. There is the possibility of tasting and buying your favorite variety of rum.
Cathedral of Havana
It began to be built by Jesuit monks in the middle of the 18th century. After their expulsion from the country, it was gradually completed with the participation of invited Italian masters. It was consecrated in 1798. Made in the baroque style of coral limestone interspersed with shells. The two side towers of the cathedral are asymmetrical. One has already been made so that when it rains, water can freely drain from the Cathedral Square. Until 1896, the remains of Columbus rested here, then they were taken to Spain.
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
A monumental building in the Baroque style on the square of the same name. It was erected in the 16th century. The 42-meter church bell tower is the tallest religious building in Havana. There is an observation deck at the top. The temple is part of a former Franciscan monastery. Today it houses a museum that houses numerous historical and religious values. The church hall has excellent acoustics; chamber music concerts are regularly held here.
The 20-meter statue of Jesus made of snow-white Italian marble was created in 1958. It weighs 320 tons. The sculptor is Hilma Madera. The project was financed by the wife of Cuban President Batista. The majestic monument was sculpted in parts in Italy, then transported to Havana. Installed on the hill of La Cabaña, on a 3-meter pedestal and at an altitude of 50 meters above sea level. Three times it was struck by lightning strikes and restored. As a result, a lightning rod was erected nearby.
La Real Fuerza
One of the most ancient fortresses in America. It is located in the eastern part of the city and is better preserved than other defensive forts. It was built in the 16th century to protect the harbor from pirates. Over the next 2 centuries, it was rebuilt and strengthened several times. On one of the bastions there is a tower with a weather vane in the shape of a girl. Since 2010, the Maritime Museum has been operating here, where you can see ship models, navigational instruments, items from sunken ships.
The indestructible symbol of Havana is a fortress on a rocky hill. It was erected at the end of the 16th-beginning of the 17th century to protect the entrance to the harbor. The basis of the fortress is 3 bastions and a 25-meter lighthouse. The cannons of the fort are rusty, but the walls are perfectly preserved. From them the whole old Havana is clearly visible. Today, inside the castle there is an exhibition dedicated to Cuban lighthouses. You can get to the fortress by car or bus through an underground tunnel built under the bay.
San Carlos de la Cabaña
The grandiose, largest fortress complex in the country, built in the 18th century. 120 guns were placed on its walls 700 meters high. In the XIX-XX centuries. the fortress served as a prison. In the 50s, during the revolution, the commandant's office of Che Guevara was located here. Since the end of the last century, it has been declared a military-historical park. On the territory of the complex there is a museum of weapons and a museum of Che Guevara, several cafes, souvenir shops. According to tradition, ancient cannons are fired daily at 21.00.
University of Havana
Located in the prestigious area of Vedado. Date of foundation - 1728. One of the leading universities in the country. Consists of 14 faculties. Today, about 60 thousand students study here. The majestic university building is made in the neoclassical style, decorated with columns, frescoes, a wide staircase leads to the main entrance. In the center stands the Alma Mater sculpture, created by one of the local artists in 1919. At one time, Fidel Castro graduated from the university.
Palace of the Captain-Generals
Former residence of the rulers-governors of Havana. Located in Plaza de Armas. Built at the end of the 18th century. The building is made in the Baroque style of coral limestone interspersed with small shells. Elegant arcades, balconies with stained-glass windows serve as decoration. There is a statue of Columbus in the courtyard. Since 1968, the palace has housed the City Historical Museum, which presents works of art and rare exhibits from the time of the Spanish colonization.
A giant realm of white marble in the open air. Founded in 1876. On the territory of 57 hectares there are about 800 thousand graves of the most famous personalities of the country. Most of the gravestones are beautifully decorated, decorated with magnificent statues and sculptural compositions. There are mausoleums, family necropolises, even ancient Greek temples. There are streets with names, sidewalks and signs. There are guided tours around the cemetery for tourists.
A futuristic, vibrant world of mosaic paintings, sculptures, and painted items. Its creator is local artist José Fuster. The master decorated his house and surroundings in the coastal area of Haimanitas with a rainbow of ceramics. Surreal creatures, faces, eyes, chess pieces are depicted here on the walls, roofs of houses, garages, even at a bus stop. The sight is quite impressive. Fuster's workshop sells souvenirs and some of his work.
A bright enchanting show, about 200 highly professional musicians, dancers, acrobats and singers, luxurious costumes and make-up, a touch of eroticism, national Cuban cuisine and a sea of rum. All this is the most popular cabaret in Cuba, which tourists from all over the world seek to get into. It was created in 1939 in the Villa Mina estate. It occupies a vast territory, immersed entirely in dense tropical thickets. Visitors must be at least 14 years of age.