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Top things to do in Havana
Top things to do in Havana
Top things to do in Havana
Officially recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, Havana is a historic seaport bustling with classic American cars, excellent Spanish architecture and expanding with African and Caribbean rhythms. An enchanting city with the twists and turns of its enthralling history and rich culture, Havana, like the rest of the country is on the edge of change and being the capital, is leading the charge. The revolution here is evident despite the history of the rumbling colonial mansions surrounding the city. Everything about the city is fascinating be it the cobblestone streets or the spectacular museums talking about money, diverse cultures, tobacco and so much more. Get lost into the time at La Habana Vieja's (Old Havana), where everyone has a story to tell or walk along the oceanfront promenade of the Malecon or ride in a 1940 Dodge taxi through crumbling Centro Habana to experience the Tropicana floor show, or Afro-Cuban religious rituals on the street. The ever-popular Plaza de la Revolución boasts of icons of the Cuban struggle for independence, while Miramar is all about owning the nights with some of the best fine dining restaurants and classic pub grubs of the city. A place where Internet is just arriving, where paladares (owned-home restaurants) are more popular than actual restaurants and where opera is subversive, Havana is a city with verve and rhythm along with being cosy and laid-back. A mix of past and present, restriction and freedom, this confounding capital welcomes you with open arms.
Old Havana or Habana Vieja, a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO is a neighborhood that trickles the charm of days gone by. Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, this historical district once served as the main commercial center of the country. A resting point for raiders who earlier transported new world treasures back to Europe, this historical hotbed boasts of elegant Baroque and Neoclassical buildings complemented by cobbled stone square and winding streets. Highlights in the area include the glorious Catedral de San Cristobal, the stout Castillo de la Real Fuerza along with Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas. The starting point of many tours, Old Havana is the place of discovery!
Soak up the evocative aura of the city of Havana as you gallivant along the Malecón. Meander during the sunsets and allow yourself to be astonished by the panoramas that the enchanting landscapes create along the way. Appreciate the cultural quirks of everyday life in the capital city at El Malecon that spans over 8 kilometers and connects the city center with the harbor. A great meeting point for the locals, the esplanade supports endless cafés, restaurants and bars that brim with energy. Be careful of the surging waves as they might attack you sometimes, leaving you drenched.
Officially called Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, the El Morro fortress stands proudly on a rocky cliff at the mouth of the bay of the city in the Parque Historico Militar. The construction of this historic fort took 30 years to complete and it was structured to defend the city against the constant attacks of the pirates. Planned by Juan Bautista Antonelli, an engineer from Italy, the site today offers spectacular views of the city, especially at the time of sunsets. A historic icon of the city, the fort attracts a huge crowd every year who flock here to get a little taste of the history. There is also a maritime museum on the venue.
Inaugurated in 1929, El Capitolio is yet another example of striking architecture in the capital city. Rising from the Havana skyline, this massive structure is a confluence of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau form of architecture and served as the seat of government until 1959. Marvel at the grandiose structure, a project initiated by dictator Gerardo Machado, observe the huge Doric columns that guard the entrance and gaze at the impressive architecture of the dome that adds to the beauty. The interiors are even more captivating with intricate and rich decoration boasting of an enormous Statue of the Republic.
Callejon de Hamel:
Surround yourself with the vibrancy and liveliness of Callejon de Hamel, an alley district bustling with colorful murals, Santeria shrines, and exciting rumba music. Explore the area and learn more about the unique Afro-Caribbean religion that grew out of Cuba's slave trade. You can buy some souvenirs from an array of stores or observe the Santeria priests perform their animated rituals. Admire the art pieces that beautify the walls and vivacious murals or just mingle with the locals as you take in the spirit of this neighborhood.
Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás:
In the field of rolling cigars for over 160 years, Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás factory is famous for making full-bodied cigars like the Cohibas and Montecristos. One of the city's oldest factories in Havana, Jaime Partagás, a Spaniard inaugurated this neoclassical style building in 1845 to fulfill the needs of the industry in the late 19th century. This simple yet strong dominant structure from historical times provides you with a profound tour of the process of cigar-making in the capital city. You can buy a cigar from the on-site shop after your tour.
El Cristo de La Habana:
Come and see the breathtaking landscapes of the city through El Cristo de La Habana. The statue of Jesus Christ here was structured by a renowned Cuban artist and made with marble from Italy that was personally wrapped by the people. Standing at an elevation of 20 meters, you can see many locations of the city and engage with the panoramic views of the region.
Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion):
Nestled in a mansion that previously served as a presidential palace, the Museo de la Revolucion is an opulent building with stone walled exteriors that are complemented with concrete interiors. The palace was structured by Rodolfo Marurí, a Cuban architect along with Paul Belau, a Belgian architect and is in a heady contrast with the surrounding buildings. Come here and delve deeper into the history of Cuba while wandering around the chambers of the museum. The top floor boasts of a chronological history of Cuba and the exhibits narrate the story from the pre-Columbian times till date. The life-size structures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos made of wax are noteworthy. Do not forget to see the display of Granma yacht behind the museum.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano:
Explore the beating heart of the contemporary Cuban art, Fabrica de Arte Cubano, is an event and exhibition space located in the former headquarters of the city's electricity company. The culture center first opened its doors to the public in 2014 and since then it has been enchanting art enthusiasts with Cuban theatre performances, music, dance and visual arts. It often combines more than one art form to display the true colors of Cuban culture.
Plaza de la Catedral:
Come to one of Havana's oldest and most significant Catholic churches where a long trail of history awaits you. Finding itself on an erstwhile swamp, this epicenter of Old Havana represents a kind of open-air museum of Caribbean Baroque architecture. Just like the cathedral the square dates back to the 1700s, when the area became a naval dockyard. Today you will stumble upon a large variety of restaurants here and the city's museum of colonial art that adds to the beauty of the plaza.