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Everything you need to know about the History of Havana in its 500 years of foundation

Nothing like walking along the Havana seawall (Malecón), while breathing the fresh air and delighting yourself from the beauty of the Caribbean Sea.

Havana is the city that saw me born, through its streets by the hand of my mother I learned to take my first steps. With the sound of drums, maracas and the contagious Salsa began what today nourishes my body and soul, dance.

Havana is that city that, with its unique Caribbean spirit, receives thousands of travelers every day who are eager to live, to dream and explore it.

To celebrate its 500th anniversary, I have written a series of blogs that I share with you with love. Let’s start together to discover, this wonderful city that has frozen in time despite world development.

A stroke of the History of Havana

Havana – formerly named Havana City – is the current capital city of the Republic of Cuba and at the same time one of the fifteen Cuban provinces. Havana is the most populous city in Cuba and throughout the insular Caribbean, with a population exceeding two million people.

The territory of the capital occupies the 16th place in extension among the provinces, with 726.75 square kilometers, representing 0.7 percent of the total area of ​​the country.

Havana was founded in the spring of 1514, further south, with the name of San Cristóbal de La Habana.

Tradition recognizes the date of foundation on November 16, 1519, when the Spanish conqueror Diego Velázquez – in the name of the kings of Spain – established his third and final settlement, the current one.


First settlements of Havana

In the Plaza de Armas, which was in the colonial era the center of official and public life in Havana, stands a monument called El Templete.

In that place, there was a ceiba and that under the shadow the first mass was celebrated and the Cabildo received the custody and custody of the privileges and privileges of the town of Havana, according to custom and use of the laws of Castile

Havana resurfaced on several occasions from the rubble and ashes that were reduced from time to time by French pirates and privateers during the first half of the 16th century.


This is how Havana is structured nowadays

The current capital city – whose genesis is in the town of San Cristóbal de La Habana, settled for the third and final time next to the bay of Havana, and that in its excessive growth towards the west, south, and east, other settlements were annexed between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, it constitutes a large metropolitan urban center.

Some of the territories that comprise it had reached titles of city or town: Marianao, Guanabacoa, Regla. 

Others were typified as towns, villages or hamlets, being linked to the city through new towns called neighborhoods, neighborhoods or communities.

The province of Havana is currently constituted by 15 municipalities:

  1. Old Havana
  2. Havana Center
  3. Revolution Square
  4. Beach
  5. Marianao
  6. Oct. 10
  7. Hill
  8. Rule
  9. San Miguel
  10. Cotorro
  11. Orange Creek
  12. Guanabacoa
  13. Boyeros
  14. Eastern Havana and
  15. Lisa

Places of interest in Havana

Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña: it is a fortress located east of the bay. La Cabaña is the largest fortress built by Spain in America. This was built after the English invasion and ended at the end of the 18th century. Currently the main headquarters of the International Book Fair and the Havana Biennial, among other events.

The Capitol of Havana: it was built in 1929 to house the Senate and the House of Representatives. This colossal building is visible from almost the entire city with its imposing dome. Inside is the Statue of the Republic. Today it is the headquarters of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

Castillo del Morro: it is a picturesque fortress at the entrance of the port of Havana inside there is a lighthouse of great power that directs navigation.

Colon Cemetery: cemetery and an open-air museum. It is the most famous and largest cemetery in all of America, known for its beauty and the magnificence of its sculptures, it is considered as a third of world importance, preceded only by Staglieno in Genoa, Italy, and Montjuic in Barcelona, ​​Spain, in the cemetery.

Havana: Cultural museums and monuments

Dulce María Loynaz Cultural Center: It is located in the house of the well-known writer Dulce María Loynaz. She is The National Prize for Literature 1987 and Cervantes Prize 1992. This center is the main institutional space for authors of Cuban Book. In this center facilities, one of the venues of the International Book Fair operates.

23rd Street (Vedado): one of the main arteries of the city, flows into the boardwalk. In it they are found from the headquarters of several ministries such as Public Health or Work to the famous Coppélia ice cream shop (which the Habaneros call the Ice Cream Cathedral), passing through the hotels, clubs, and discos, which they attend Hundreds of young people on weekends.

Ciudad Deportiva: In one of the best-known places in Havana, the intersection of Boyeros and Vía Blanca avenues, a very special installation, the Sports City, which in its majestic Coliseum, one of the most important works of the Cuban Civil Engineering, has hosted for almost five decades to countless sporting, political, educational and cultural events. It also has stadiums and a swimming pool complex.

Plaza Vieja (Old Square): It was originally called Plaza Nueva. It emerged as an open space in 1559, after the Plaza de Armas and that of San Francisco, respectively, although some authors point out that it was the second place in Havana. It was a residential area of the Creole plutocracy in colonial times. The urban architectural complex of the Old Square is represented by valuable colonial constructions of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and some examples of the first decades of the twentieth century that maintain stylistic unity.

Palace of the Revolution: The Palace of the Revolution is the main building within the Revolution Square Complex, located in the Cuban capital.

Christ of Havana: Majestic and colossal statue located at the entrance of the port of Havana, on the left, between the ancient fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña and the town of Casablanca. The values of the monument, an icon of Havana, make it a must for conservation and care.

Ludisis Mones

Ludisis Mones

Ludisis is a Cuban certified yoga teacher who is passionate about yoga and the spiritual world.

During our tours, Ludisis will bring you to the best places where you can enjoy authentic Cuba.

Ludisis is educated as a dance instructor, tourist guide, and yoga teacher.

She understands the subtle difference between making you a plain tourist and making you a partaker of the real, local Cuban culture.

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