Photos of Habana Vieja, Old Havana, Cuba

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Habana Vieja, Old Havana

Habana Vieja, Old Havana, is the city’s old centre, where the original city walls were. The Spanish founded it in 1519 at the natural harbour of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure-laden Spanish Galleons on their way to Spain in those days. In 1555 Old Havana was destroyed and burned by the French corsair Jacques de Sores. The pirate had taken Havana easily, plundering the city and burning much of it to the ground; the Spanish constructed a system of walls and forts after that, like the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, built between 1558 and 1577 on the site of the fortress destroyed by those French privateers. It now houses the Museo de Navegación, displaying interesting exposés on the fort and Old Town’s history and its connections with the erstwhile Spanish Empire.

In Habana Vieja
Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana
Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana
Women in traditional dress
Tourists taking photos
Mansion, Plaza de la Catedral
Street performers, old Havana
Street performers, old Havana
Book stall, Plaza de Armas
Book stall, Plaza de Armas
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
In Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
In Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
El Templete, Havana
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Calle Mercaderes
Basílica San Francisco de Asis
'La Conversación sculpture
Hotel Palacio del Marques
Statue of Fray Junípero Serra
Calle Oficios, Havana Vieja
Plaza Vieja
Womman on Plaza Vieja
Café Restaurant, Plaza Vieja
Modern sculptures, Plaza Vieja
Flower sculpture, Plaza Vieja
Puppet show, Plaza Vieja
Children at puppet show
Demonstration of Capoeira
Narrow street, Habana Vieja
Hotel Ambos Mundos
Living statue performer
Street performers, Old Havana
Playing football in Parque Humboldt

The city was built in baroque and neoclassic style, but many buildings fell into ruin in the latter half of the 20th Century, but a great effort to restore and preserve Old Havana has been undertaken. It is a top-rated tourist destination, with its narrow streets, squares like the Plaza de la Catedral with its Baroque Cathedral and the Plaza Vieja (Old Square), Havana’s most architecturally eclectic square, laid out in 1559. The Plaza de Armas is Havana’s oldest square. It was laid out in the early 1520s, soon after the city’s foundation, with the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales Casa de Gobierno, the former official residence of the governors of Havana; it is now the Museum of the City of Havana.

Old Havana and its fortifications were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982; it is a city of great architectural character, containing many treasures from its long and colourful history. It is alive with local people and tourists; there is music, street performances, a great place to walk and discover. And one of its most iconic sights are the American vintage cars from the 1950s, many immaculately maintained (but often with non-standard engines and other parts) and serving as taxis. The open cabriolets take tourists for rides along the Malecón.