Discover the History of Old Havana in Cuba

Posted by North South Travel Blogger · Jun 19 · in Havana, Cuba · about Culture & History

Havana - Cuba’s capital - was the last city to be established by Spanish conquistadors. By 1550, it had become an important political and commercial hub, a position it holds up to today. The city was founded at its present location in 1519 by the Spanish and soon became the center of Caribbean’s ship building industry.

The strategic location of the city was perfect for the annual gathering of fleets headed to Spain from Mexico and Peru. Havana’s location also made it the gateway to the vast Spanish colonial empire. It got the status of capital city in 1607

During the 7 Years of War in 1762, the city was seized by the English who continued to hold it for 11 months but would later exchange it for Florida. It is this single attack that informed the fortification of the Old Havana. This deterrent allowed the city to grow and develop steadily throughout the 18th and 19th century. Today, Havana is the best surviving Spanish complex in the Americas.

Havana was the place to go for good rum and fine cigars during the Prohibition Period…at least until the New Years Eve of 1959 when Fidel Castro and his allies marched into the town. Today Havana is home to 2 million people and its skyscrapers dominate the port district. It is also the largest city in the Antilles.

Irrespective of the many military conflicts that it has endured, Old Havana still retains its appearance of 100 years ago. It features a mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments as well as homogenous ensemble of private residential houses featuring arcades, wrought iron gates, internal courtyards, and balconies.

Most of the ancient buildings in Old Havana have been converted into museums. There are hundreds of churches, palaces and castles, revolutionary monuments and markets you ought to visit. 

Points of Interest

  • The Plaza de la Catedral
  • The Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana
  • The Castillo de la Real Fuerza
  • La Giraldilla
  • The royal palm-studded Plaza de Armas
  • The Palacio de los Capitanes
  • The fortress of La Fuerza
  • The palaces of the Segundo Cabo and of Los Capitanes Generales
  • Plaza de La Cathedral
  • Plaza de San Francisco
  • Plaza Vieja
  • Plaza de Las Armas

Without having toured the above attraction, you cannot have been in Havana. The city is a major tourist attraction in the Caribbean not only for the architectural masterpieces but also for the active night scene and cultural festivals. If you have never been to Cuba, then you have not really seen the authentic Hispanic culture.

For more information on tours of Havana or flights to Cuba, please contact one of our Travel Specialists at North South Travel today

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