The renovation of Old Havana is one of the largest works carried out in Cuba in the last 50 years. A meticulous and surprising restoration work that has returned to the world one of the wonders of the Americas, a kind of ancient Rome of Latin America, in fact walking through Old Havana you can relive the emotions and imagine what the city was like in the periods ranging from Spanish colonialism, the era of piracy up to the legendary 20's and 50's.
The Old Town has over 800 buildings of historical importance, marvels of architecture in the most diverse styles ranging from Baroque to Art Deco. Old Havana is practically an open-air museum. 4 are the squares not to be missed when you are in Old Havana, here they are:
LA PLAZA DE LA CATEDRAL
The cathedral square in Old Havana is an example of Cuban Baroque, surrounded by buildings dating back to the eighteenth century. The square is dominated by the Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana built by the Jesuit friars in 1748, the works continued even after the expulsion of the order from Cuba. The completion of the construction in 1787 coincided with the creation of the diocese of Havana; the church was then elevated to the rank of cathedral, one of the oldest in the Americas.
The Cathedral which is dominated by two bell towers of different heights and framed by a Baroque facade was described as “music transformed into stone” within its walls the mortal remains of Christopher Columbus were housed for over 100 years before being transferred to Seville, in Spain.
PLAZA DE ARMAS
It is the oldest square in Havana and dates back to the early 1520s, immediately after the foundation of the city, the wonderful Palacio de los Capitanes Generales dominates the square.
The name Plaza de Armas (parade of arms) was adopted when the Spanish governor began to use it as a place for military exercises. Today the square hosts a typical antique book market.
PLAZA SAN FRANCISCO DE ASÍS
This square is located in front of the port of Havana and dates back to the 16th century, a time when the Spanish galleons docked in the city during the navigation from the Indies to Spain, it was completely restored in the late 90s. The large and bright square is particularly known for the Fuente de los Leones (the fountain of the lions), made of white marble by the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini in 1836 and for the beautiful church dedicated to San Francesco D'Assisi, opposite the church a modern sculpture portrays El Caballero de París, a wayfarer from the 1950s known by all citizens because, although a beggar, he roamed the streets of the old city entertaining passers-by with philosophical discourses and profound general culture.
La Plaza Vieja data de 1559 y es la plaza donde se pueden observar diferentes estilos arquitectónicos al mismo tiempo: el barroco cubano y el art nouveau inspirado en Gaudí. Inicialmente se utilizó para ejercicios militares, más tarde fue el sitio de un mercado al aire libre. Aquí encontrarás muchos bares, restaurantes y cafeterías, entre los que destaca una cervecería artesanal. Una espléndida fuente domina el centro de la plaza. Muchos de los edificios que la rodean están decorados con grandes ventanales, los famosos vitrales (ventanas con vidrios de colores y emplomados típicos de Cuba).
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