Fun things to do in Havana

  • Plaza de la Catedral - Cathedral Square
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Havana

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    Plaza de San Francisco de Asis

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    The convent and church of San Francisco de Asis occupies one side. One can climb the tall tower to enjoy the view. Towards the eastern side, the cruise Terminal Sierra Maestra is used by big cruise ships. While I was near I saw some tourists coming out in shining vintage cars, I suppose this is part of the cruise entertainment...
    On the north side the tall imposing building is the Lonja de Commercios (Chamber of Commerce), built in a rennaisance style, which was used as the Stock Exchange before the revolution. Now it houses important offices.
    The modern sculpture in front of it, was donated by Vittorio Perrota in 2012 and is named “La Conversacion”. It was created by the French sculptor Etienne. I liked it. It represents the necessity for the countries of the world to communicate.
    The Fountain of Lions ( Fuente de los Leones) in the middle was designed by an Italian sculptor, and is often used as a resting point for the pigeons flying in circles around the square.

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    Plaza de Armas

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    Walking along O'Reilly street, one of the main streets of Havana Vieja, you are found to Plaza de Armas. The first thing you meet is the second-hand book market all along one side of the square. Other antique items are sold, as coins, old cameras etc...
    Palm trees surround the center where a marble statue of Manuel Céspedes is standing.
    This is the oldest square of Havana, originally named Plaza de la Iglesia. In the 16th c. the governor used this open space to conduct military exercises so it was renamed , and later it was rebuilt and got the appearance it has today. The Palacio de los Condes de Santovenia is the big building on the eastern side which has now turned to a five-star hotel.
    Tourists and locals are always present in the square as well as artists and musicians who keep you entertained at every step.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Malecon

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    Malecon is Havana's refreshing beauty. It stretches for several kilometers, embracing Havana Vieja and Central Havana and Vedado. It makes a refreshing stroll, with beautiful views of the sea, and a chance to see locals in their relaxing time. Fishing, strolling, courting or just gazing at the vast sea.
    If you keep your camera focused on the road you can make a good collection of old Vintage cars. One out of three vehicles are super shining " ladies”... : ))
    It is also interesting when it is rough and wild. Roaring and spitting gigantic waves over the protecting wall, splashing fiercely cars and pedestrians alike. In fact the only pedestrian was I..trying to get a closer shot...lol

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    Museo de Chocolate

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    Mmmm!! Delicious! I am crazy about chocolate so I am not a strict judge ..but this chocolate is no doubt of good quality. It comes in so many colors, shapes and tastes in this chocolate cafe, that it is hard to decide, unless you try everything.
    I had a hot chocolate drink and several cold ones at the outside tables on Amargura street -which means “bitterness” by the way...ha ha.
    It is great for a short rest after walking around Old Havana! They cost only one cuc each.
    There is usually a queue inside this shop by people who are anxious to consume their magic super taste of chocolate. I prefer it a little bitter and not too sweet. It was exactly like that!

    Address: Esquina Mercaderes y Amargura, Old Havana.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Plaza de la Catedral

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    This square was perfectly kept in my mind from my first trip. So when I arrived I noticed it was almost the same, which is not surprising for Havana Vieja. The huge Cathedral of San Cristobal, the restaurant El Patio, the museums and beautifully maintained 18th c. buildings around the square makes it the most interesting square in Havana.
    A newly married couple were posing for the wedding album. The street musicians and vendors in old time outfits gave a nice touch to the picture.
    Tourists are always present and when the imposing Cathedral is open a big crowd of them are curious to see its interior.

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    Central Park / Jose Martí

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    Central Park, on Prado is considered the center of the whole city. Capitolio, Gran Teatro, Hotel Inglaterra, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the first statue of Jose Martí, an intellectual and national leader and hero, in the center.
    Prado is the main artery of the city and of course the busiest street. Despite the noise and pollution, it is your chance to see the broadest collection of Vintage cars passing by or being parked on the side, offering touristic rides in Havana.
    You can rest for a while there watching daily Cuban life.

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    Taller Experimental de Grafica

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    This workshop will give you a good grasp of graphic arts. You can watch artists working in their lithographs, printmaking or woodcutting techniques. You can buy whatever is exposed on the walls and in the Gallery on the second floor or you can just watch their skilful hands creating a unique piece of art. Many visitors, even other artists, are gathering in this workshop just to enjoy the atmosphere.
    It was founded in 1962 with the support of Che Guevara when he was the minister of industry and still is one of the most important graphic workshops.
    It is located in a small alley on the eastern side of Plaza de la Catedral.

    Address: Callejón del Chorro No 6
    Plaza de la Catedral, Havana Vieja
    +53 7 7 862 0979

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    Palacio de los Capitanes-Museo de la Cuidad

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales is the dominating square building in Plaza de Armas with an arcade in the front. Originally it was the official residence of the General Captains of Old Havana.
    Now it houses the City Museum. The rooms of the governors on the top floor are still furnished with the original furniture. There are also original artifacts and decorative items of the time. The material used for the construction was imported and of first quality. Everything is preserved very carefully.
    You can take a guide inside although even if you don't there are many friendly and talkative guides inside that would help you to see and understand more with a small tip.
    On the top floor the rooms of the governor's residence are preserved with much of the original furniture and decoration.
    Entrance is 2 cucs.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

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    Museum of Colonial Art

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    In the Plaza de la Catedral, the Museum of Colonial Art in the Palacio de los Condes de La Casa Bayona exhibits colonial furniture and decoration . The building is an old mansion that was constructed in 1720 for the governor who gave it to his daughter's husband as a wedding gift. It has a beautiful red marble floor and a classical patio.

    Address: Calle San Ignacio No. 61
    between Empedrado and O’Reilly,
    Plaza de la Catedral, Municipio Habana Vieja
    Tel: 862 6440 / 862 6468

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Plaza Vieja

    by elsadran Written Jul 8, 2015

    In my sense of beauty Plaza Vieja is the most beautiful of the squares. Today's appearance was the result of the last restoration in the end of the 20th century. Architects made a good job with the beautiful colonial buildings and gave them back all their charm and character they initially had. On the west side you can see some of the most charming stained-glassed windows of Havana.
    The Plaza has changed a lot of names and uses in its past. It has been used as a site of execution sand bullfights, and as a military center. Then it became a huge market and finally when Havana was declared a world Heritage Site, it was restored and promoted to the lovely square we can see today.
    On the eastern side is the Planetarium, and on the west nice bars and restaurants are found under the arcades. There is also a small brewery, and a primary school.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Street scenes in Habana.

    by pfsmalo Updated Jun 15, 2015

    Havana really sets the tone with the way of life and its different colours and scenes. Although some of the buildings are still in a pretty decrepit state, a lot of effort has been put into renovation and upkeep of the city's buildings.

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    Iglesia del Santo Cristo, Habana.

    by pfsmalo Written May 27, 2015

    Standing on the place of the same name, the church and convent were originally founded in 1640, but the actual one is from 1755. Originally standing close to the old Havana city wall, travellers and seamen alike used it to pray for protection before affronting the dangers on the road or sea. The Epistle tower now only has one bell and has lost its clock, whilst the Gospel tower has four bells, one of which was cast in 1515. The cloister of the convent has gone but there is still archaeological digging going on, the reason of the fencing round the southern side of the church.

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    La Fototeca, Plaza Vieja, Habana Vieja.

    by pfsmalo Written Apr 13, 2015

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    Anyone with the slightest interest in photography should not miss the Fototeca in Plaza Veja. Inaugurated in 1986 it has both permanent and temporary exhibitions. We caught the end of the exhibition by Salas, mainly b+w with some little known images of the Castros and Che. The building itself has been renovated and is one of the prettiest on the Old Square. There is a balcony where you can sit and look over onto the square.

    Entry is free and open from Tues. to Saturday 10h00 - 18h00

    The fa��ade on Plaza Vieja. One of the exhibition rooms. The inner patio. View from the balcony.

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    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula, Habana Vieja.

    by pfsmalo Written Apr 3, 2015

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    The 17th c baroque cathedral was built in 1664 as the chaple for the nearby hospital of the same name, but was severly damaged by a hurricane in 1730 and had to be almost completely rebuilt. In the 1940's it was due to be demolished as part of the ringway around the harbour, but the idea was forgotten after complaints and appeals by locals and certain members of the society. From 2000 it has been renovated and is now used for concerts and as an art gallery.

    Free to enter.

    On the plaza. Mural. Cupola Stained glass windows View from the artisans market.

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    Palacio del Conde de Lombillo, Habana Vieja.

    by pfsmalo Written Apr 2, 2015

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    The palacio is right on the corner of Cathedral square as you are leaving the church, with the entrance just along calle Empedrado. Built in 1741, it was used as an office and as the Museum of Pedagogy. Down through the years it was passed through the hands of descendants of some of the original settlers in Havana, and only became the "Casa del Conde de Lombillo" when Joseph Lombillo married into the Pedroso family. There are now temporary exhibitions on the ground floor and on the first two large rooms have been renovated and house some beautiful Sevres, Limoges and some Italian ceramics and pottery.
    It was also home to the first historian of Havana and now holds the offices of the "History of Old Havana".
    From the first floor there is a good view of the square and from the other side to the giant Cristo statue the other side of the river.

    Open Mon - Fri, 9h00 - 18h00 and Sat 9h00 - 13h00. Entrance is free, but a small donation is expected to the guides.

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