A beautiful postcard of vintage beauty,my Habana !!!

I have look over and saw several old posts that needed to update text and links as well as condense them into one, A big task considering was a beautiful city now mostly in ruins unless Unesco has provided some money, This is my native capital City, the city where I spent a great part of my very early life until 10 years old, Luckily was able to visit it in 1984, 1998, and 2012 , This City is Havana or La Habana or the full name San Cristobal de La Habana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba.  This is my Habana and would like to share it with my new readers as well as the old ; do see my other posts on it, Hope you enjoy this post as I.

My Saint Christopher, the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(was the best pro baseball team on the island,and my family’s team). There are so many buildings in Havana, once the Unesco did a report that I lost track of it but mentioned 144 buildings of the 14C, 15C, 16C, and 17C in Havana ;more than on any other city in the Americas. The multitude of beauty is enormous even if the history is sad. Hemingway once call it the Paris of the Americas, and he should know some.

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On my last trip in 2012 was a business trip so stay by Playa or Miramar as old in a casa particular very near the Mélia Habana, Commodore, Panoramico and the Miramar Business Center, I went to the wonderful MaleconPlaza Vieja, former Church of St Francisco de Asisi, saw the statue to the Caballero de Paris, gentleman of Paris a beggar who knew like Enstein and told wonderful stories to passerbyers from the 1950’s. We went by the bourse of commerce or Longia; and of course, we sip a daiquiri at Floridita Bar,(in 1957 Esquire magazine name it the best bar in the world!). We went inside the hotel Nacional, and walks it historical alleys and patio with its Aguiar canons, magical. I saw my Morro castle, and the excavations of the Zanja Real or royal sewers now open and shown above ground to tourists.  Coming by grand Miramar on my way to visit my old native place, I saw the clock tower on 5th avenue of Miramar, the Palacio de Convenciones, and the wonderful old houses now occupy by foreign embassies. We had lunch at El Bosque inside the hotel Melia Habana, Avenida  3rd. between  76 and 80 streets, Miramar , the Spanish chain of hotels. We ,also,, had our meetings there in the 9th floor breakfast business center with wonderful views of Havana.  I had lunch with the family at a parador private folks have at Parrillada 84  y 15, Playa, all done by charcoal, with my Aunt and cousins. The highlight was at El Palenque, near pabexpo Cuba, wonderful typical Cuban place and food, very nice lechon or pork with yucca,moro (blackened rice), and the local Cristal beer, address at Calle 17 & Calle 190 , Playa, La Habana  . In Havana we ate at Factoria Plaza Vieja, at Plaza Vieja, terrace outfit with shrimps and lobsters,pork,and chicken grilled platters. All very cheap compare to Europe. For a nostalgic trip we passed by El Potin resto, my Mom Gladys used to take me here as a little boy, just a sandwich and light platters place and ice cream,juice and soda drinks, still there!!! and it looks nice after 43 years!!!! Inspired by French immigrants! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado section of La Habana.

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The Plaza Vieja or old square was done in 1559 surrounded by beautiful homes of the colonial times. It is bordered by the streets of Teniente Rey, Muralla, San Ignacio and Mercaderes all in Old Havana of course. This was renovated by a grant from Unesco, Over the past 150 years, Plaza Vieja has played host to an open-air food market, a park, and an amphitheatre. Plaza Vieja was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and Fiestas,  all witnessed by Havana’s wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their balconies. In the 18C, the Plaza Nueva was transformed into a market place. And in 1814, with the emergence of the market at the Plaza del Cristo, it was renamed to Plaza Real, Plaza Mayor, Plaza Fernando VII, Parque Juan Bruno Zayas and Parque Julián Grimau, until it finally received the name of Plaza Vieja.During the 17C to the early 20C, the area was developed with residential, commercial and recreational buildings that fortunately maintained coherence, including the majestic Palacio de los Condes de Jaruco (or palace of the counts of jaruco) and the first exclusive recreational society in Havana, Sociedad Filarmónica, (or philarmonique society) housed in a residence at Calle San Ignacio 352-354.

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There are many other churches in Havana other than the cathedral (see post) ,and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.These are my favoritesChurches of Havana just for introduction very condense text : The Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes,ou will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome,The construction of the temple began in the year 1630, After many acts and renovations the last one was on January 31, 1867. Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day, Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 ,The Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999. Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world.In the garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France). Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, (now just known as a Christian church) also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi (see post) and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela.

Captain General Residence and Museum of Havana, I am talking about the residence of the Captain General of Cuba (this was the governor of Spain in Cuba), over the years use for many things and now a museum of Havana.Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former parish church, as the imposingPalacio de los Capitanes Generales. It served as Spanish colonial government headquarters until 1898 and housed 65 Capitanes Generales (governors), after which it served as the center of U.S. military administration (1898-1902), then as the Cuban President’s resident, and finally (1920-67) as the City Hall.It is today theMuseo de la Ciudadthe fabulous City Museum telling the tale of the city’s history. The different halls or rooms:Sala Parriocalor Parish Hall, Sala Giraldilla(lady symbol of Havana like Sevilla) symbol of Havana has become the first molten sculpture in the city, Wind vane, done for  the tower of homage of the Castle of the royal force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)  between 1630 and 1634. Heraldic room  (or Sala Héraldica) small room designed for exhibiting objects and documents that testify to the importance that the Cuban nobility attributed to heraldic symbology, Room set B (or Sala Ambientada B) (19C), Carriages room (Sala Cochera)  in the area occupied by the garage and Palace stables are exposed various models of cars: Sala Emilio Roig retains pieces belonging to the personal collection of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, whose arduous work bequeathed fruit as the founding of the Office of the historian of the City of Havana in 1938 and the Museum of the city of Havana in 1942, located in the Lombillo Palace, in the Cathedral Square(Plaza de la Catedral). Pinacoteca: shows a series of important works of key artists within the Cuban plastic, covering different periods within the history of this artistic manifestation, Cuban copper room (Sala de los Cobres Cubanos) within the vital offices of the old City is the blacksmith, which, by its application in construction works, in shipyards, agricultural, industrial and defensive work, occupied a significant place in the development of the City, Sword Cemetery (Cementerio de EspadasBishop Juan José Díaz de Espada and Fernández de Landa distinguished himself during the first three decades of the 19C for his progressive and enlightened work. Among his many works is the creation of the first Necropolis, which took its name and was inaugurated in 1806.Statuary and stoning room ( Sala Estatuaria y Lapidaria) the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19C enabled the abundant entrance of marble and the visit of Italian artists of more or less relief. Spanish uniforms Room (Sala de Uniformes).Public office (Despacho publico) .This room shows one of the two offices with which was used by the captain Generals of the island of Cuba,Spanish banners, flags and pennants room (Sala de Estandartes, Banderas y Banderines Españolesflags, pennants and banners of different bodies of the Spanish colonial army are exposed.Spanish armaments Room (Sala de Armamento Español) It gathers a small but varied sample of the weapons and allied equipment used by the Spanish forces in Cuba, Anteroom and Hall of the Cabildo (Antesala o sala del Cabildo) .The Cabildo was one of the forms of local government existing in Spain later applied in its Hispanic colonies, Leonor Pérez, mother of José Martí, was veiled in ardent Chapel in May 1907.Room of thought (Sala del Pensamiento),it addresses the ideological currents that were manifested in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C, Heroic Cuba (Cuba Heroica) , After the failure of all the actions of the Cubans, either by the reformist way or by the annexationist, it will be shown that the contradictions metropolis-colony were insurmountable and the impossible annexation. And this is demonstrated by the independent outbreak of October 10, 1868, in front of which was located the radical and patriotic wing of the Cuban landowners, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Hall of the flags (Sala de las BanderasThe halls of the flags are the most relevant of the City museum due to the national treasures they expose: The original flag that flew for the first time in 1850 and that, once the war of the ten years began , became national insignia;American Intervention Room  (Sala Intervencion Americana) On February 15, 1898, the explosion of the American-flagged battleship cruiser Maine  was produced in Havana Bay, in which 266 members of its crew, including 2 officers, were killed. The funerals were held in the Hall of the Palace Council. In 1901 the Constituent Assembly was convened to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, a document establishing the constraints (Platt Amendement) that defined the future Cuban dependence.Wicker Salon (Salon del Mimbre) .The wicker boudoir reflects the atmosphere that dominated the palace during the last two decades of the 19C. It highlights the art Nouveau furniture, artistic style that erupted in the late 19C and became fashionable in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.Dining Room  (Salon del Comedor) Set in the style of the colonial palaces of the 19C, it is located in the same space that occupied during the colonial period and the first decades of the 20C, and where they offered great banquets to commemorate or to celebrate political events or Simply for celebrations sponsored by the Captain General himself. Trinchante,Small hall that exhibits luxurious tableware and pieces destined for the service of table, Coffee Room (Sala del Cafe) It denotes one of those spaces destined to the receipt of the General captain. It highlights a set of room of knob of the 19C, Infanta’s Room( Habitacion de la Infanta) ; In 1893 the Infanta Eulalia of Bourbon visited Havana, and during her seven-day stay she occupied this room that served as a bedroom for Captain General. Bath room (Sala del Baño) .Despite the fact that the Cuban tropical climate imposes a daily need for the bath, it is not until the middle of the 19C that the act begins to be integrated into the life of the inhabitants of the city of Havana, Room set A (19C) (Sala Ambientada A)The splendid way of life reached by the Cuban aristocracy in the mid-19C reveledan elitist interior environments characterized by the mixture of various foreign influences, White Room (Salon Blanco) . The Spanish and Creole elites selected recreational places among the halls of their elegant residences. The anteroom of the main hall of the palace was used as a complement to receive guests on holidays and space for musical auditions. Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, Hall of Mirrors (Salon de los Espejos). It was the space of greatest political and social importance of the Palace of the Captain General. Photographs and documents of the archives reveal some important events that took place in this Hall: transfer of powers of the Spanish colonial administration to the American government, on January 10, 1899; Birth of the Republic on May 20, 1902; among others.

You can see the marvelous Presidential Palace ,on 1909 the governor of Havana decided to build a new headquarters to host the Provincial government.The interior decoration was under the responsibility of Tiffany Studios of New York.  The Salon de Espejos or Hall of Mirrors, which was conceived in the image and likeness of the homonymous Galerie des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of  Versailles, France. Its floors and staircases are made from the famous Carrara marble of Italy. The building, built on the basis of the canons of eclecticism. In 1917 the history of the building had a transcendent turn that marked its subsequent destiny. At the end of that year, the first Lady of the Republic visited the works, and was captivated by the magnificence of the building and the privileged of its location. No more needed to be said, she turns to her husband ,Mario Garcia Menocal, President of the Republic, and took over the necessary legal quibbles and dispossessed the Provincial government of the property of the palace. In the beginning of 1918 everything was arranged so that the building located in Calle Refugio No. 1 between Monserrate and Zulueta became thePresidential Palace of the Republic of Cuba.  The construction work followed its course and on January 31, 1920 the official inauguration of the Executive Mansion took place. The work, in all its details, was not completed until the 12th of March of 1920. The palace building  has four floors: the ground floor served to accommodate the dependencies that secured the main functions; Telephone exchange, auxiliary offices, power plant and even the stable for police horses. The first floor welcomed the most important spaces of the palace: presidential office, Gallery of Mirrors, Chapel, Golden Hall and the place where the Council of Ministers made decisions. On the second floor was installed the Presidential residence and in the last of the floor was placed the garrison responsible with the custody of the Presidential mansion. The building is crowned by a dome clad in the exterior of glazed ceramic pieces that, at the time, was one of the highest in the city. In all, there are 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics of CubaIn the building are present paintings and sculptures of representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the moment: Leopoldo Romañach, Emilio Hernández Giro, Enrique Cabrera, Esteban Valderrama, Esteban Betancourt and Armando Menocal.The first revolutionary Provisional Government was established in the former presidential palace. From there the dictator, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the position of Prime Minister and carried out the great process of nationalization of all the private companies that existed in Cuba until that moment; including the American companies that gave rise later to the US Embargo due to non payment.  Later, the former Presidential palace houses since 1976 the Museum of the Cuban revolution with  holes  in the wall of historical shots as if they were the bones of a saint, as well as weapons, tanks or boats (the mythical Granma that brought the revolutionaries from Mexico) that led to the eventual drastic changes in the country for the worse.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana :https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The official archidiocèse of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva//

The official Catholic Church in Cubahttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/index

A Cuba site on tourism in Havana: https://www.tripcuba.org/havana

There you go folks, a bit long but a real postcard on my Havana, Many faded memories now, but the real Havana of old always in my heart, Hope you enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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