Paseo de Martí, Havana, Cuba
GPS: 23.141480472339, -82.347544989578
Visit old Havana, and you’ll see the historic neighbourhood of Havana, capital of Cuba. You’ll also find the history of this part of the city will equip you to experience its vintage Cuban charm and understand the roots of its lively culture when you explore one of the oldest vintage cars, art galleries with their art deco, and even a national monument. You’re looking at a former Spanish colony that was originally inhabited by different Caribbean tribes (Siboney, Guanahatabey and Taíno). The city of Havana was founded in 1519 on the north-west coast of Cuba following a new Spanish expedition led by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, first governor of the archipelago. Thirty years later, it supplanted Santiago de Cuba to the rank of capital of the archipelago. Due to its privileged geographical location, the harbour and emblematic city was attacked, looted and burned in 1555 by the French pirate Jacques de Sores in search of gold and treasure in possession of the conquistadors.
Recovered with the intention to restore and then fortified by the Spanish monarchy, Old Havana with its vintage Cuban charm and now one of Cuba’s most beautiful tourist spots remained under the frequent threat of pirates prowling in the region of the Gulf of Mexico and had to counteract the desire of the French or the English to expand. Despite this, it became the Caribbean colonial centre, an important shipbuilding site in the region and the stopover point for many slaves displaced from the Old to the New World. It was also enriched by the trade in goods (sugar cane, tobacco, coffee…) and acted as a hub for gold in the triangular trade between Europe, the Americas and Africa. From the 16th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, you’ll find the city was marked by a long Spanish domination until the Spanish-American War of 1898. This armed conflict rocked the island under American influence after the Cuban War of Independence. The colorful district of Old Havana, with undeniable charm, still retains to this day an incredible number of architectural jewels from several periods in the history of Havana and Cuba. The stone fortification system protecting the old city and the entrance of the bay of the Cuban capital with its beach and salt water is considered to be one of the most complex defensive networks in the Americas which adds the vintage Cuban charm of this spectacular fort.
Articulated around a la Habana plaza of five large paved squares, the labyrinth of narrow streets around the city district of Old Havana Cuba leads to numerous stately old buildings and is a district where you’ll find one of Havana’s mix of architectural styles (fortresses, palaces, museums, mansion houses, coloured houses in every residential area even the cheapest or most luxurious, historic buildings, old residences, or even a hotel or a shop …) benefiting from a vast restoration program funded by Unesco since 1982. The majority of its historic monuments, along with the iconic Havana old cars, add to old Havana’s vintage Cuban charm. They are erected in a mixture of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, and form the most remarkable urban complex in the Caribbean. As soon as night falls, this rich cultural heritage gives way to a rich and particularly lively nightlife. You will have the choice between a romantic open-air stroll along along the Malecón, the tasting of an authentic mojito or daiquiri (cocktails originating from the archipelago) in a restaurant with sweeping and picturesque views of the city to admire, the experimentation of a habano (Cuban cigar produced in the country), the discovery of a trendy Havana nightclub where you’ll get to experience the hottest Havana nightlife Cuba or the live music, concert or performer of talented local groups when you visit one of the most beautiful the attractions or undoubtedly find various of them as a visitor which is one of the best things of a tour to explore old Havana.