Havana is a surprising place. Once you step your feet in the city, it seems not only different from everything else you have seen before. More, it is a world that you need time and curiosity to truly understand. Havana has peculiar personalities; beautiful even in their dilapidation buildings; people wearing the warmth of their mixed blood on their smiles. It is a divergent city, not following initial planning but adapting and developing according to the time and the needs. And yet, it is a place of joy, fiesta, live-bands-music and history as hybrid as its population. In twenty-five pictures of Havana, I want to share with you my fondness for Cuba and its capital.
The Iconic Havana
One of the best things about Havana is its fascinating old architecture. Often, the old buildings are left to destruction for many years. But even them, they still radiate charm and evoke a person’s imagination. Observing people’s lives in these buildings, you can depict the past. As a person who grew up in a socialist country, while visiting Cuba I found a lot of parallels between Cuba and the life I knew growing up.
As Einstein said, “The more I learn, the less I know.”
Many of the beautiful residential buildings that you see along the main boulevards look good from afar. But when you approach them, you see the peeling of the paint on the facades, the rusted parapets and terraces cluttered with stuff.
The Old Havana Is the Heart of the City
The old historical part of Havana, the most maintained of all the city parts, is the place where tourists are frequenting. The window shutters are painted in bold colours, the cobbled squares are clean and populated with theatrically-dressed locals. It is mainly staging. All the people are dressed up to make tourists pay. You can take photos but only if you pay (1 CUC » 1 Euro).
One of the most beautiful places in Old Havana is the Old Square, in Spanish called Plaza Vieja. The boldness of architecture and the richness of details are amazing. Some buildings are turned into expensive international hotels lodging an haute-gamma of foreign guests.
‘Witches’ and Other Mysteries in Havana
Santeria women who can foretell your future using Tarot cards. Santeria is an old Afro-Caribbean religion that is still practised together with the strong Catholicism. But in Cuba, there are more than one Afro-Cuban religions practised. This tour will introduce you to some of them from up close while letting you in the lives of the people who practice them.
Pictures of Havana – the City where Past and Present Dance Together
Apart from the colonial architecture, Havana is a home of a place closely connected with the history of the American mafia. On the picture – Hotel ‘National de Cuba’, built in a mixture of art deco and neoclassical styles in the 1930s.
Music in Havana
The music inhabits the streets of Havana. At many bars and on the streets you will encounter local groups playing and singing salsa and Cuban son music with such a passion that inevitably will stop at every place to hear these lively Caribbean rhythms.
On the first picture below – a band playing at the famous bar La Bodeguita del Medio where it is said the mojito cocktail was created.
Outside the old part of the city, Havana looks like a modern, urbanized place, at least from the side of the Morro Castle Fortress.
Get Lost in the Streets of Havana
The small streets, oh, these narrow, cobbled, colourful streets of Havana! They are so full of life, colours, music sounds and warm sunbeams. On the streets of Havana, unlikely the streets of many other major cities in the world, we don’t feel pressure and easily fall in love with the place, its people and their culture.
The house doors and windows are opened – as the heart of its inhabitants. Cuban people are one of the friendliest locals that you can ever meet during your travels. So, why don’t you buy that ticket and see for yourself?
Havana is the most popular place in Cuba and for a good reason. Hope these pictures of Havana made decide on visiting Cuba sooner!
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