This is how Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote about Havana in 1925. And very soon, in November 2019, this beautiful capital will turn 500 years old.
Havana is a truly magical city full of history. For example, driving through an underwater tunnel to the El Morro fortress, you can imagine how the Spanish garrison once tried with all its might to defend the city and protect it from pirates.
Havana's architecture combines elements of Baroque, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau and even Art Deco. All this adds eclecticism to the city and makes it unforgettable for tourists.
In connection with the 500th anniversary of the capital of Cuba, a large number of restoration works have been planned. Of course, the city will change after that. That is why many argue that they would like to visit Havana and see it as it was - old and beautiful.
All buildings, especially those located within Old Havana, are of high historical value. Moreover, there are more than 3000 attractions of the capital, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among them are the La Real Fuersa Fortress, the Santa Clara Monastery, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the City Hall and many others.
One of the first restored sights was the Palace of Captains-Generals, standing on the Plaza de Armas (or Arms Square). The palace was once the seat of government of the island, but now houses the main museum of Havana.
Plaza de Armas is a place very close to the hearts of Cubans. After all, the square literally gave rise to the entire city. It is from here that any tourist excursion to the eastern part of Havana begins. Many years ago, lovers made appointments at the central monument to the “father of the fatherland” - Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.
The next monument of antiquity near the Plaza de Armas will be the Castillo de la Real. The castle was a strategically important point for Cuba. After the king of Spain ordered the designation of Havana as the main port between the metropolis and all American colonies, this structure became a port for all ships sailing from the colonies of the New World. But today it houses a museum of weapons.
The O'Reilly gate has also been restored, where you can find the coat of arms of Havana. The gate itself was built back in 1852 and served as the entrance to Havana from the side of the bay. However, later they were partially destroyed during the construction of Port Avenue.
In honor of the 500th anniversary of the capital, it is planned to complete the long restoration of the Capitol. In March of this year, the northern wing of the building was opened to the public. However, you'd better hurry up and visit the Capitol now. Since in the near future the deputies plan to start holding meetings of the National Assembly of People's Power here, as it was before the victory of the revolution in 1959. Therefore, the entrance for tourists will most likely be closed.
Eusebio Leal, head of the Historical Bureau of Havana, announced that Russian specialists who already had experience in gilding church domes were invited to restore the gold covering of the Capitol dome (the building of the Parliament of Cuba). Recently, a statue of the Republic was unveiled inside the Capitol, which was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Early Russian President Vladimir Putin donated funds to Cuba to restore this statue.
The object of restoration was the main embankment of Havana - Malecon. Due to the proximity to the ocean, high humidity and the effects of the tropical climate, more and more buildings began to gradually collapse. That is why it was decided to carry out a complete restoration and introduce some norms for the construction of buildings. For example, it has become officially forbidden to build houses higher than 23 meters on the Malecon.
Visiting Havana, you will catch yourself thinking that you are somewhere between the past and the future. And this is no coincidence. After all, Havana is an open-air museum. Havana is a treasure trove of traditions. This is a place over which the spirit of freedom and serenity hovers. It is a city that has seen the birth of ideas and cultures.