Havana is not just a city but a whole world. It is a city full of contrasts. Here I’m sharing some views from Havana that I hope will spur you to visit the country sooner than later.
The Iconic Havana
Despite that the Valley of Vinales is my favourite place in Cuba, Havana is so abounding with colours, culture and life that one day is not enough to explore it and understand it. In an attempt to quell my nostalgia for Cuba and to inspire you to visit Havana as soon as you can, there are these 25 views from Havana.
One of the main reasons that Havana is fascinating to the foreigners is its old architecture. Often the old buildings are not maintained for many many years but they still radiate charm and evoke a person’s imagination. Probably because we now consider that we know enough about the life of Cuban people but the truth is that we have no idea what it is to live in their reality. I am saying that as a person who grew up in a socialist country and while visiting Cuba found a lot of parallels between Cuba and the life at home in the past. As Einstein said, “The more I learn, the less I know.”
On the picture below is the entrance of Colon Cemetery, famous with its impressive monuments with sculptured mausoleums.
Sadly, some of the beautiful residential buildings that you see on major boulevards look well from far but when you approach them you see the not maintained facades, rusted parapets and terraces full of stuff. Still, these buildings look so beautiful that you want to have a look inside, to see the life behind the jungle on the terrace.
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 pleasure – they can take photos but only if they pay (1 CUC » 1 Euro).
One of the most beautiful places in Old Havana is the Old Square or also called Plaza Vieja.
The boldness of architecture and the richness of details are amazing. Old buildings like this one are turned into expensive international hotels lodging an haute gamma of foreign guests.
On the photo: the impressive Palacio del Marques de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal Hotel.
The colonial architecture of all Cuban buildings includes an inner yard that looks just like a small forest.
Cathedral de San Cristobal de la Habana
Witches and Other Mysteries
Santeria women who can foretell your future using Tarot cards. I don’t know how much their abilities are real but these women are scary! Santeria is the old Afro-Caribbean religion that is still practised together with the strong Catholicism.
Some buildings are clearly abandoned. I hope they will be refurbished and used again as even dead they stand with so many splendours.
Views from Havana – Where Past and Present Mix
You can find signs of the Spanish past everywhere in Havana. On the picture – the Basilica de San Francisco.
Another interior garden
The magnificent fountain at the Plaza de San Francisco, here you see also the Cruise terminal of Havana.
The old American cars are everywhere. And many are in such pleasant colours for the ladies eyes!
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 picture – group 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.
At some places, you will be pleasantly surprised by a modern art that looks totally absurd at the middle of the historical squares. I say absurd, but I really liked the contrast between new and old. It was refreshing.
Peacocks are a common sight in Cuba. I do not know what about these gorgeous animals makes them look perfectly fitting into any Cuban environment – from very poor to really luxurious setting.
Plaza Vieja with its contrasting colours and beautiful arcades.
Get Lost on 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 this ticket and see for yourself?
Havana is the most popular place in Cuba and for good reason. What is the most interesting part of your trips to cities like that? Visiting historical sites, meeting local people, tasting the food or something else?
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