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Havana Cuba Tourist Attractions

Plaza Vieja
Plaza Vieja. Credit: Wikimedia
Havana’s most popular tourist attractions encompass centuries of conquest, war and revolution.

Old Havana


Old Havana evokes comparisons to Old San Juan. The city dates back to 1519 as a settlement for Spanish conquerors. They used the city as a center of trade, a strategic military position and storage for treasures brought back from the New World before transport back to Spain. A seawall begun in the 17th century took 100 years to complete, according to the Cuba Tourist Board.

Cathedral Square


One of the major attractions within Old Havana is Cathedral Square, which is made up of Plaza Vieja (Old Square) and Francis of Assisi square. Plaza Vieja is the location of the San Juan de Jaruco mansion. Francis of Assisi square has a church and convent of the same name. The Museum of Sacred Art is located in the convent’s cloisters.

Parade Square


The Castillo de la Real Fuerza, built in 1577, displays the most important pottery collection in Cuba. La Giraldilla, an artistic wind vane and symbol of the city, sits atop the building. Other attractions in the square are the Captain-General’s Palace (Museum of the City) and El Segundo Cabo.

National Museum of Fine Arts


Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Old Havana exhibits Cuban art collections from the colonial era to current times.

Morro-Cabaña Military Park


Military buffs can explore the Morro-Cabaña park, which showcases two major ruins in one historical fortress.The Castle of the Three Kings of El Morro was erected in 1630. The fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña was built in 1774. Both structures contain military museums.

Visitors to the park also will be able to see Prado Promenade, the Great Theatre of Havana and the Capitol building. The Capitol building has the Statue of the Republic, which has a diamond planted at its feet to mark kilometer zero of Central Road.

Malecón


Malecón is a broad ocean-side road that extends for five miles along the city’s beach. It starts at the mouth of Havana Harbor by Old Havana and ends in the Vedado neighborhood. The boardwalk is especially popular with walkers and fishermen. Malecón provides access to other nearby attractions including the Revolution Square, University of Havana, the José Martí Monument and the Colon Cemetery, which is one of the world’s largest necropolises.

Napoleon Museum


The museum, located by the University of Havana, is a major collection of art and other items from the 18th and 19th centuries. It contains almost 8,000 items, most of them originating between the French Revolution and the Second Empire.

Revolution Square


Revolution Square or Plaza de la Revolución is one of the largest city squares in the world and the location of many major political rallies and speeches by former president Fidel Castro. Overlooking the square is José Martí Memorial with a 358-foot tower and a 59-foot statue. Numerous government ministries surround the square.

Playa del Este


Located about 10 miles east of Havana, Playa del Este is the Riviera of Cuba with more than nine miles of beaches and hotels located between Bacuranao and Guanabo. Beach goers visiting Havana should consider Santa María del Mar.

Cojimar


The fishing village of Cojimar is about three miles east of Havana. It is famous with tourists because Ernest Hemingway, a winner of the Nobel prize for literature, kept his boat there, developed material for many of his stories and found the inspiration for his classic novel “The Old Man and the Sea.”

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