Cuba: THE CAPITOL AND THE REVOLUTION (7)

Cuba: THE CAPITOL AND THE REVOLUTION (7)

Remember that we were on foot strolling around the Old Town? Well, we will just keep walking, since there are some beautiful spots to see and visit in the Centro Habana. So, the next neighborhood, the very center of the Cuban capital, is dominated by Capitalio.

Going out of the Old Havana, Glimpses of The World

Going out of the Old Havana

The building is inaugurated in 1929 and is a loose imitation of the Washington DC Capitol, even though it’s a bit taller. It was the home of government until 1959 and today houses the Ministry of Science. It is open for tours which include the former government chambers and the library.

Havana's Capitalio, Glimpses of The World

Havana’s Capitalio

Gran Teatro and Paseo del Prado

There are couple of lovely buildings here. One of them is across the Capitalio. It’s the famous Gran Teatro da La Habana. Impressive structure, carefully decorated, that once hosted the greatest opera and music names. Next to it there is the Hotel Inglaterra with Moorish details and decorations. They say that a lot of artists that performed at the Gran Teatro stayed here when in Havana.

Gran Teatro de la Habana, Glimpses of The World

Gran Teatro de la Habana

If you continue to stroll the neighborhood, you will see couple of lovely parks, popular as meeting points for lively discussions on music and sports in the evenings. You will pass by Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas. It was really interesting to visit one of the cigar factories. Before that I didn’t realize that all those cigars are actually hand made.

Entering Paseo del Prado, Glimpses of The World

Entering Paseo del Prado

Along the Paseo del Prado that goes in front of the Capitalio and all the way to the castle on the coast, there are a lot of lovely renovated Colonial buildings to be admired. Colorful walls, old cars, trees in the middle. Just lovely bustling city street. Pay attention to charming street lamps or hotel Sevilla.

Pedestrian path next to Paseo, Glimpses of The World

Pedestrian path next to Paseo

Plaza de la Revolucion

It’s not that far to reach Plaza de la Revolucion in Vedado district by foot, but bear in mind that it can get pretty hot in Cuba and you should come prepared. If not, just hop into a taxi. This square is a must see when traveling to Cuba since it’s very important for the country’s history. This has been Cuba’s political, cultural and administrative center since 1959. It was the venue for the first mass relies following the triumph of the revolution, where military parades and official celebration often take place.

Hose Marti Memorial, Glimpses of The World

Hose Marti Memorial

On one side of the Plaza you will find the Memorial Jose Marti, standing proud at 109 meters in heights. It was possible to go up by elevator to the top and there was a great view of the entire city from up there. At the foot of the tower is the huge statue of Marti. Essayist and journalist, Marti was born in Havana in 1853 to Spanish parents, but later became one of the best known anti-Spanish activists. He is regarded as Cuban national hero.

Che Guevara's bust on the building, Glimpses of The World

Che Guevara’s bust on the building

On the other side, there is the famous facade of the Interior Ministry which is almost completely covered by a vast bronze wire structure of Che Guevara’s bust, completed in 1995. The guerrilla fighter had his office in this building in the early 1960’s. (More about Che Guevara in posts to come!) Under the bust there are his famous words: “Hasta la victoria siempre!” (To victory, always!)

The sign at the entrance of the city, Glimpses of The World

The sign at the entrance of the city

Standing facades

While strolling around Havana, you will notice that unlike the Old Town or Paseo de Prado, you will come across a lot of old buildings in pastel colors and Colonial architecture, that are so neglected that there is only the front facade to be seen. People still inhabit such constructions, on some only the building’s skeleton still stands.

One of the local cafes, Glimpses of The World

One of the local cafes

They say that internet is week nowadays in Cuba, but when I traveled to the island internet was something that was only available to government officers. There were almost no mobile phones. That was all so strange to me then, since I actually had everything at the hotel. And I just couldn’t grasp that those everyday things were not allowed outside of those walls.

Don’t let me even start on the means of transport! Or better yet, I will, but in the next Glimpse.

Next: CADILLAC OR CHEVROLET, HM? (8)

The full CubaΒ SERIES

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28 comments on “Cuba: THE CAPITOL AND THE REVOLUTION (7)

  1. This is one destination which is on my list but its great to read a blog about Havana which doesnt focus on cigars and old cars. I would love to take a wander around the old town and sample the sights.

    1. It looks more impressive like this, right! You somehow grasp the greatness of the man. πŸ™‚ By the way, I think I had a little crush on Che Guevara when I was in school! He was a guerrilla hero, all smart, handsome and idealistic, oh well… πŸ˜€

  2. Great place and a detailed description. The pictures are good. Will definitely visit this place on next time in Cuba. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Loving your Cuba series, I read a couple of your previous posts too. Some lovely buildings in Havana, the Teatro is very impressive! I also didn’t know that the cigars are hand-made – interesting fact! Thanks for sharing, look forward to the next ones.

    1. Oh, thank you, it means a lot! So glad you like the series. There will be three more posts on Cuba. πŸ™‚ Well, couldn’t help it, there are just so many interesting things about the country to share. πŸ˜€

      1. I do like it – I think it’s really nice to do a series of posts rather than doing one long post but not including as much detail on the different places and experiences. Inspirational stuff, keep it coming!

        1. Thanks, the support is always welcome! πŸ™‚ I actually always do series, the blog is full of them. It fits my writing better than to do one post per destination. I just need more writing “space”! πŸ˜€

  4. We’ve been wanting to visit Cuba for years but still haven’t got there. Hopefully, we will in 2018. Although still bad for the north coast, looks like it escaped the worst of Irma.

  5. I saw these pastel colors and Colonial architecture in other parts of the Caribbean. I heard they have a meaning and should make the owner lucky. It’s such a shame that these beautiful buildings get neglected and fall apart.

    1. Such a nice symbolism, didn’t know about that. It sure goes with pastels. πŸ™‚
      And yes, I agree, that really is a shame. It’s the great heritage that should be preserved.

  6. Another iconic city in South America. Love the architecture of the place. I would love to walk around the streets admiring these structures.

  7. There are so many lovely buildings throughout Cuba, I pray that the hurricane this weekend didn’t destroy the Capitol. I love the charm of the colorful walls, old cars, and trees in the middle of the streets. Thanks for the tip on Plaza de la Revolucion being of historic importance. I hope to visit soon!

  8. The fact that it remained cut-off from the rest of the world for a while due to its politics, makes it even more charming. I feel like stepping into the 1960s when I see these old buildings. That image of Che can have a serious impact on people irrespective of their ideologies.

    1. So true, you just have to feel enormous respect for Che when you see how important his legacy is for people there.
      And regarding that step back in time, feel free to check out the new post. It’s all about vintage cars from 1950’s and 1960’s. Now, that’s one genuine time travel! πŸ™‚

  9. Cuba is definitely on my top destinations to visit next year. You have some fantastic photos of Havana. I hope the recent hurricane didn’t do much damage on the island.

    1. Me too, I’ve seen some flood reports from Havana, but I hope it will end well.
      Thank you for your kind words! You’ll have great time in Cuba, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve never really thought of visiting Cuba but after seeing posts like this, it makes me want to explore it and see what the country offers. Love that you captured the beautiful buildings. I seriously hope the hurricane didnt damage this beautiful country.

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