Posts tagged ‘Cuba’

June 20, 2022

Curiosities of the Americas !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my electronic camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of the Americas !!

The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception  of Havana is an 18C Baroque-style cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, located in the Plaza de la Catedral on Calle Empedrado, between San Ignacio y Mercaderes streets in Old Havana.

Havana cathedral

The Church of San Francisco de Paula is located at the intersection of the streets Desamparados (Avenida del Puerto), San Ignacio and Paula (Leonor Pérez), just where the Alameda de Paula ends. This church is an example of Cuban Baroque from the first half of the 18C. In the year 2000 the church was restored, and since then it hosts concerts of ancient music and functions as an exhibition hall for the best works of outstanding contemporary Cuban artists, In the place that occupied the church that existed since 1664, a hospital for women and a hermitage under the invocation of St Francis of Paola.

Havana ch of paula

The Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro or simply Morro castle was built between 1589 and 1630 to protect the entrance to the port of Havana, The Morro castle protected the mouth of the port with the help of a hanging chain connecting it to the San Salvador de la Punta fortress placed on the other side of the bay. The fort has walls almost 3 meters thick. Inside the fortress is an exhibit on Cuba’s lighthouses,Also, restaurants. Pic is from Morro to old Havana and harbor. Far left is Casablanca old arsenal.

Havana Morro castle to old havana

The Monumento de los Niños Heroes or the Monument of the Children Heroes serves as a tribute to the cadets of the Military College who gave their lives to defend Chapultepec Castle from the North American invasion on September 13, 1847. It is a mausoleum located in the Chapultepec Forest, right at the beginning of the road that leads to the Castle of Chapultepec.

Mexico mon ninos and chapultepec castle

Holy city located about 50 km from Mexico City, built between the 1C and 7C, Teotihuacan, the place where the gods are created, is characterized by the very large dimensions of its monuments, the most famous of which are the temple of Quetzalcoatl and the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and by their geometric and symbolic arrangement.

Mexico Teotihuacan pyramids calzada de los muertos

Xochimilco ,Mexico;  this simple working-class neighborhood features the famous Xochimilco Canals, which are the last remnants of a vast maritime transportation network built by the Aztecs. Colorful boats reminiscent of gondolas take visitors on cruises past food vendors, artisans and mariachi bands. The atmosphere is festive, especially on weekends. Go there by heading to Tasqueña metro station, which is at the very end of Blue Line 2. From Tasqueña, there is a special train called Tren Ligero that departs from Tasqueña and arrives at Xochimilco.

Mexico Xochimilco

The Palacio de la Moneda, or simply La Moneda, in Santiago de Chile, is one of the most remarkable buildings ever built by the Spaniards in their colonies in Latin America. The palace stands in the center of Santiago, in Plaza de la Constitucion or Constitution square and Avenida del Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins. Currently, Moneda is the seat of the Presidency of the Republic and of three ministries, including that of the Interior, as well as the General Secretariat of the Presidency and that of the Government.

santiago de chile palace of the moneda

The Plaza Sotomayor is a square in Valparaíso, It is named after Rafael Sotomayor. The Plaza Sotomayor originally called Plaza de la Aduana (Customs Square), then Plaza del Palacio (Palace Square) and later Plaza Intendencia (Intendancy Square), is the most important civic square in Valparaíso , The square is lined by buildings occupying full block-fronts of the streets that flank it. The focus of the square is the monument that honors the Chilean sailors who fell during the Battle of Iquique and the Battle of Punta Gruesa, In 2004, the design of the square extends to the Prat Wharf, turning it into a touristic walkway from which was possible to embark in order to cross the roadstead of Valparaíso from the sea. At the Prat wharf is possible to see a replica of the Santiaguillo, (little Santiago) a small sailing boat which was the first Spaniard vessel to dock in this bay called Quintil ,The first wharf completed in 1883 corresponds to the passengers’ wharf, made of wood and metal with hexagonal shape.

valparaiso plaza sotomayor

The Port of Valparaiso is the maritime terminal, It is the port with the highest passenger arrivals in the country and the second one with the highest container movement,  The Port of Valparaiso can be divided into the commercial port (mainly containerized cargo), the passenger port (cruises). Each of these activities has its own space, separated from the others, with facilities and specialized personnel. Most cruises depart and visit Valparaiso from fall to spring when the weather is typically very mild, Like most modern cruise ship terminals, Valparaiso Terminal de Pasajeros also serves as a public events venue during no-ship days / times. The passenger terminal is adjacent to a container dock, and features a convenient railway station.

Valparaiso port cruises

The Caminito is a street museum and a traditional alley, located in La Boca, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. The place acquired cultural significance because it inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito” of 1926, music by Juan de Dios Filiberto. lyrics by Gabino Coria Peñaloza. Sang by the mayor tango singers of all time including Carlos Gardel, Hugo del Carril, Libertad Lamarque etc.

Buenos aires caminito la boca

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to Latin America. The wonders of the Americas that still rings a bell to my ears on each stretch of meter I take on this world. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

May 30, 2022

Take a look at St Augustine, Florida !

So looking back into my blog I sadly realised have not written much on the city of St Augustine, Florida! It is a shock to me as used to lived for many years just 55 minutes from it and went there even for lunch/dinner, played soccer/football, and just plain sightseeing first with my parents and later with wife and kids. Well ,found me some old pictures in my vault and decided to do justice with another post on wonderful St Augustine, Florida !

St. Augustine is on the Atlantic coast of Florida. This is the county seat of Saint Johns. about 60 km (37 mi) from Jacksonville and 90 km ( 56mi) from Daytona Beach. Today, Saint Augustine is one of Florida’s most popular destinations. It is ,also, the oldest city in the United States ,founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles for Spain!

The Bridge of Lions completed in 1927 was constructed during the extravagant land boom times in Florida. It was designed as a work of art as much as a transport for cars, connecting downtown St. Augustine with Anastasia Island (great beach!),across Matanzas Bay. A double-leaf bascule bridge, or drawbridge, it opens for boat traffic several times throughout the day. The bridge gets its name from two white marble lion statues guarding the bridge on the west side name Fiel and Firme,or Faithful and Firm, In 2015, two new granite lions were added to the east side of the bridge ,name Pax and Peli, or Peace and Happiness.  A walk across the bridge and back to see all four lions is about a mile (about 1,6 km), and worth every step. From its earliest days, it was hailed as “The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie.” (south US), It has long been a symbol of the US oldest city.  Renovation work was completed on March 17, 2010 when it reopened for use. The restored Lion statues were returned after a 6-year absence, early in the morning of March 15, 2011. The current bridge’s west entrance features manicured gazebos, landscaped palm trees and a new publicly accessible dock extending partially into the bay.

Saint Augustine bridge of lions into town from beach side

The city of Saint Augustine tourist office on the Bridge of Lions:https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/bridge-lions

One of my best memories of the town is the Flagler College (univ) a wonderful place where I came to play soccer/football against them and usually won! I came later to show it off to parents, wife and boys for many more years.  Flagler College 74 King St.: is a unique combination of the past and present, and an architectural icon of the city of St. AugustineThe college, founded in 1968, is centered on a former luxury hotel, the Ponce de Leon hotel, built in 1888 at the request of the industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler. Originally for women only, the college became coeducational in 1971.

Saint Augustine

In 1887, Thomas Edison and the Edison Electric Company installed the world’s largest incandescent lighting plant at Hotel Ponce de Leon, also making it the first building in the country to be designed with electric wiring throughout. Upon opening in January 1888, the structure was considered an engineering and architectural marvel due to it being the largest structure made of poured concrete at the time, plus modern amenities like electricity, running water, game rooms, private parlors , and of course all of the Gilded Age splendor inside and out. The hotel notable guests include Presidents Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson, writers Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Ernest Hemingway, Edna Ferber, star athlete Babe Ruth, and so many more. The Ponce de Leon saw major success which prompted Mr Flagler to build Hotel Alcazar across the street, now the Lightner Museum and City Hall. The hotel was taken over by the federal government during WWII. It was primarily used as a Coast Guard Training Centre; the hotel was permanently closed in 1967. In 1968, it was reopened as the Flagler college.

The city of St Augustine tourist office on Flagler college :https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/flagler-college

The Lightner Museum 75 King Street . Enjoy the atmosphere and artwork of another age at this elegant Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel. The Lightner Museum is a museum of antiques, mostly American Gilded Age pieces .The Hotel Alcazar was commissioned by Henry Flagler, to appeal to wealthy tourists who traveled south for the winter on his railroad, the Florida East Coast Railway.  The hotel had a steam room, massage parlor, sulfur baths, gymnasium, a three-story ballroom, and the world’s largest indoor swimming pool; however, after years as an elegant winter resort for wealthy patrons, the hotel closed in 1932. On August 20, 1947 Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner purchased the building to convert the old hotel into a hobbies museum. He used the space to house several collections, including his own extensive collection of Victorian era art . He then turned it over to the city of St. Augustine and the museum opened to the public in 1948.  The museum occupies three floors of the former Hotel Alcazar and is housed in the former health facilities of the hotel, including the spa and the Turkish bath, in addition to its three-story ballroom.

Saint Augustine

The official Lightner Museumhttps://lightnermuseum.org/

The Castillo de San Marcos  1 South Castillo Drive: The oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., the castle fortress is the focal point of historical St. Augustine. The Castillo de San Marcos built by the Spanish, is the oldest fort built between 1672-1695. It changed its name several times: it was called Fort St. Mark during the British period (1763-1784) then Fort Marion between 1821 and 1942.

Saint Augustine castle San Marcos

In 1670, the establishment of Charles Town (current Charleston in South Carolina) located only two days of navigation by the English made the construction of the fort all the more necessary. Work on the Castillo de San Marcos began in October 1672 , done with Anastasia Island coquina  used for the walls; this is a limestone sedimentary rock formed mainly from incompletely consolidated shells found on the coasts of Florida . The manpower that is lacking on site comes partly from Havana (Cuba), as does the military engineer in charge of the work, Ignacio Daza. Native Americans are also involved.  The Castillo de San Marcos site covers 8.3 hectares. The fort is surrounded by water ditches whose height is regulated by a gate according to the tides. Several bastions and turrets are there to avoid blind spots. The fort has a square plan, each vertex of which is extended by a diamond-shaped bastion. Each bastion has at least one cannon. In the center of the building is the plaza de armas around which the different rooms are distributed.

The National Parks Service on the Castillo San Marcoshttps://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm

The city of St Augustine tourist office on the Castillo San Marcoshttps://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/castillo-de-san-marcos

The Basilica Cathedral of St. Augustine 38 Cathedral Place.  America’s first parish and the oldest Catholic Church in the city. Explore this exquisite building and view the Spanish-inspired architecture. The Basilica Cathedral of Saint Augustine, was built over five years between 1793–1797. It’s congregation, founded in 1565, is the oldest in the United States. This pic is a repeat and newer but I like it ::)

St Augustine cathedral panel PF 1990s

The first church of Saint Augustine was only a frame construction, decorated with disparate materials. The original parish had only an ephemeral existence, since it was sacked and burned in 1586 by the English privateer Francis Drake.  The church raised an extraordinary tithe in Spain, which made it possible to build a permanent church in 1605, with the participation of masons and carpenters already familiar with the materials available in the New World. This new building lasted 95 years this time despite visible dilapidation, before being burnt down in 1702 during a failed raid on the city, led by James Moore. When Spain recovered these lands in 1784, a civic and patriotic revival pushed the fortunes of the country to undertake the construction of a cathedral, between 1793 and 1797. Florida had been a U.S. state since 1845; on April 12, 1887, the cathedral was again engulfed in fire but this time the coquina masonry was repairable.  Thanks to donations from Henry Flagler and a nationwide campaign to expand the building to give it a Latin cross basilica plan, and a European-style transept.

Saint Augustine Cathedral main altar

The facade of the Basilica Cathedral of St Augustine, marries the neoclassical style with the architecture of the Spanish missions characterized by their scrolled gable , austere interior lighting, a roof in tiles in terracotta, a semi-circular tympanum, abundant niche statuary and bare walls.  At Saint Augustine, neoclassical elements frame the portal: the entablature decorated with triglyphs is enhanced by a pediment and rests on two Doric columns. Nice

The Diocese of St Augutine virtual tour of the Cathedralhttps://thefirstparish.org/virtual-tour/

The city of St Augustine tourist office on the Cathedralhttps://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/cathedral-basilica-st-augustine

For more on Saint Augustine, the area tourist office of Saint Augustine and Ponte Vedrahttps://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/things-to-do/

There you go folks, ths is a must when visiting FLorida . Enjoy St Augustine, as I always had, and looking forward one day eventually to revisit. Hope you enjoy this retrospective with older photos as I

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

May 25, 2022

My Punta Brava!!!

Ok so this is pull from my vault and realise not in my blog yet so here are new pictures to the blog, older of my Punta Brava!!! This is a post from faded memories but still in my heart as if you have read my blog which is my life’s history,you would know this is where I was born a looong time ago. Let me tell you a bit more of the town and especially more pictures that I can show you.

Punta Brava is a town part of the new agglomeration of La Lisa under the new administrative arrangement after the Cuban revolution. Before , it was alone just inside the city limits of Havana. It is about 21 km (about 13 mi) of city center/downtown Havana. The town has about 1500 inhabitants, many of them new as the old have left !

While in my last visit in 2012, I asked my assigned driver to take me to my native town of Punta Brava, visiting family aunt and cousins (which by now left Cuba too). Now, only memories lingered, and some places of share family values and love. Far far away, it seems difficult to even write that upon my latest visit in 2012, the area where I grew up seems different….well unrecognizable…. well poorer. It seems to me like I was not from there. It required some days of adjustment for things to come back again.

This post is to me as a reminder of what it was, a lingering space in time of a once upon a time place call Punta Brava, city of Havana metropolitan area, Republic of Cuba. 

I remember again passing in 2012 by Cangrejeras a town just over 3 km where my maternal grandfather had his farms, taken lost to the revolution or stolen dream of many. Nearby, I went to a special intern school in a village call Machurucutu; now buildings gone.

Further away at Santa Fé, about 6 km was my nearest beach, and now has a huge tourist complex there call Marina Hemingway. Further away from Havana but only less than 2 km is Guatao, this is where I played youth baseball and the area cemetery is located where my grandparents are in peace. Also, nearby, at farm San Pedro is the mauseleum of General Antonio Maceo y Grajales, the greatest hero of our war of independence from Spain who died in battle here on December 7, 1896. This was always a festival until the revolution abolished it as everything else. Below me coming from Guatao on my Czech bike!

guatao me 10 yrs old road from baseball guatao to punta brava

On our way to Havana, we always passed by Arroyo Arenas and the nice church there (see post) this was about less than 5 km from my Punta Brava. On the other way still in Cuba’s old Carretera Central or main central highway (going from tip to tip of the island) the first town is Bauta at about 6 km. This was my last school in Cuba!

Bauta escula nyen van throi ultima escuela en Cuba de Pedro

All memorable places even if by now would not recognise them and no pictures. I do have of my first school in Punta Brava, this was the Sisters of the Catholic Church school that of course is also gone.

Punta Brava, escuela de las monjas, una escuelita mia

Also, my second school on the Central Highway on your way to Havana, this one was told still there with a name change.

Punta Brava escuela secon fructuoso rodriguez mi escuela

I could not take a picture but someone took it for me of my old home, now in dismal conditions but positivitely looking at it as a memorable picture and fonds memories of my childhood before 10. This was Avenida 247 no 5006. Perhaps someone can tell me how it looks today as the picture is from 2012. Next door to the right was my paternal grandparents’ home !

Punta Brava mi ultima casa ave 247 No 5006 dec 30 1971 sept10

Looking from my maternal grandparents’ home is the road to Santa Fe beach town, and just ahead my paternal grandparents’ home on the left side further on.

Punta Brava calle 50 fr abuela amparo tia Ondina house apr12

Punta Brava calzada to santa fe Feb12

And some souvenir pictures taken in 2012, most now gone sold or given away to other family members or close friends in town. These were objects collected by my maternal grandparents over the years since 1920! My boys are below third from right.

Punta Brava living room granma amparo house photos feb12

Punta Brava grandma amparo old glasses Feb12

Again, this is a memorable lane post and no webpages. Hope you enjoy with me these wonderful places of our lives always remembered as much as possible as it is 51 years that I left it! Last brief visit 2012.  As said , the time passes by and all we have is blurred memories of always. A time, a place, a dot in my world map, that is in another world. Hope you enjoy this personal post on my Punta Brava will always be there in my heart, and many memorable moments to share with family and close old friends still in FB.

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

March 26, 2022

Curiosities of my wines in the world!!!

Well now that I got a bit of sprite in the wine posts, let me tell you about something unique and very memorable for all my family.  As said, I love wines since an early age, and everywhere I go I search for them often visiting the winemakers themselves or trying exotic wines of far away lands. This is the case of this post in my curiosities of my wines in the world!!!

These are two areas not known for wine but then again as I said, I tried them all!!! Let me tell you a bit about the wines of Florida USA and Cuba!! Hope you enjoy the post as I. Of course, the pictures are wine labels from the bottles I used to collect, and the tasting album I had.

In the early 1900’s, attempts to grow wine grapes in Florida failed due to a bacterial disease.  Hybrids were developed by researchers to produce a plant that would be immune to the disease and yet make fine wines.  No one dared such a risky venture until the Kiser family bought some of the hybrid cuttings in the 1970’s from the University of Florida.  It took them until 1985 to produce a wine fine enough to sell, and in 1986 Eden Vineyards and Winery became official.

The southernmost winery in the continental United States this is just outside Ft. Myers. You traveled down Little Lane, in the town of Alva, and you are transported to Old Florida, and the beauty of the area is so peaceful. This is right off of Route 80. It had a nice winery’s wine and gift shop.

They sold  7 wines which were the : Lake Emerald – Very Dry – A complex and elegant fine wine, fermented in French oak barrels at cold temperatures, has an underbody of ripe fruit. Alva Rouge –  Medium Dry – Beaujolais Nouveau style, perfect with pasta dishes and roast chicken, fresh and fruity. Alva White – Medium Dry – A sipping wine; great with pork, seafood, and poultry; crisp and fruity. Coral Bell – Lightly Sweet – Similar to California Blush wines but less sweet, with full-bodied grape flavors, ending bright and clean. Edelweiss – Hint of Sweetness – Velvety American and Spicy European varietals, honeysuckle flavors. Eden Stars – Lightly Sweet – Serve chilled, similar to California Blush, excellent with light meals, salads, seafood, poultry; flavor from Carambola, the star fruit. Eden Spice – Sweet – People love this popular wine with it’s exotic flavors.

We tried several do not recall which ,but did purchase the Coral Bell which was ok.  Earl and Mildred Kiser decided to retire and closed Eden’s doors for the last time on December 5, 2013. and they are no longer in business. Sadly, nothing to come back to in my former home of Florida!

Eden vineyards Coral belle wine 1994

My reliable YELP review webpage on the former Eden Vineyards and Winery :https://www.yelp.com/biz/eden-vineyards-winery-alva-2

While visiting Cuba on a business trip, was taken to the Marina Hemingway by Santa Fe, and got into the marina store there. To my surprise there wines made in Cuba lol!!  There is a story of this, and selling under the brand name Soroa with vineyard with the red grape varieties Tempranillo, Negro Amaro and Cabernet and white varieties: Malvasía Histriana. 

The result of a mixed partnership of cooperation between Italy and Cuba that emerged in 1996, the planting of 30 hectares of vines from the farms of Gianfranco Fantinel in northern Italy, the firm Fantinel currently produces white, red and rosé table wines, with its lines Castillo del Morro, Soroa, San Cristóbal and the famous Cortes, These wines are distributed now under the Cuba Ron entreprise.

Soroa red wine Cuba 1998

Havana was an important port for merchandise at the beginning of the 16C between America and Spain, the galleons arrive with excellent wines from Catalonia, Jerez and Malaga in barrels that, after being emptied, will have other uses such as storing water, grains, gunpowder, etc. At the end of the 19C, the sale of wines and spirits in Cuba was reduced, the phylloxera crisis that began to appear in the middle of the century in France reached Spain spread throughout Europe and destroyed almost all of the vineyards. Cuba never had a wine industry as all was imported and mostly from Spain.

The Cuba Ron webpage on Vinos Soroa :https://www.cubaron.com/es/productos/espirituosos-menu/vinos/lineas-vinos/316-vinos-soroa

For reference the official Fantinel in Italy : https://fantinel.com/fantinel/en/

Wine Enthusiast mag label album

There you go folks, wines all over even in impossible places; I have tried them all!! In the search for tasting wines I have gone to all corners of the world, and have the priviledge to visit some world famous wineries. And of course, some not so famous as the ones above of Florida USA and Cuba. Hope you enjoy the post and do search and try and discover the world of wines!

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

January 22, 2022

Miramar, my Havana, mi Habana !!

This is another time lapse for me going back many years 51 in fact! One has travel the world from a small spot on earth and gather many moments and souvenirs but there is always home. I am a native of Havana, and to come from my district to the old Havana needed to passed each day by Miramar. The name might seems familiar to those in Florida as there is a city there name after the one in Havana, and gosh I lived there many years later!!

Let me give you a bit of off the beaten path trip that would be wonderful to see again if possible. I am talking about the neighborhood of Miramar one of the main residential areas of the city of Havana, Cuba. Today , they put it in the county of Playa in Havana.

The Cuban upper class lived here before 1959 in sumptuous mansions and houses with pools, large patios, and other amenities. Being located in front of the coast, it made possible the existence of numerous spas, yacht clubs and social clubs in the wealthiest sectors. The stores were the best known in Cuba. Its busiest and most fundamental street, Fifth Avenue, with the same name as the famous one in New York, is considered by many to be the most beautiful street in all of Cuba.

The urban project for the construction of Miramar was conceived and signed in 1910 or 1911. The Miramar project was carried out on the grounds of the “La Miranda” family estate, making it a 100% Cuban urban project. This project is approved by the Marianao (another city just next to Havana ,and part of Marianao at the time) city council on February 6, 1911. On July 19, 1913 the contract to execute the urbanization of the Miramar neighborhood is signed.

The metal drawbridge over the Almendares river was popularly called the Pote bridge, an iron bridge over the Almendares river, in the extension of Calzada del Vedado ,a boulevard (going into another modern neighborhood Vedado)   towards Miramar. In 1920, when the 5th avenue to 42nd street section was completely designed and built, the Torre del Reloj or Clock Tower on 5th avenue and 10th street was made between 1921 and 1924 and is a 22-meter-high tower with its old carillon, a replica of London’s Big Ben, according to what it says as there is no written proof. The machinery of the clock has a mechanism by which music and time are synchronized, also chimes that sound every 15, 30 and 60 minutes, as well as every nine hours. After a period of deterioration in the 1960’s and onward, it was decided to do work on it which took three months, and finally the quarter of an hour and the melody of the bells were heard again. The four spheres, located on each side of the tower, give the exact time as they did in a distant 1924. The tower keeper need to climb the tower ladder every 72 hours and wind the machine, using the same mechanism as the manufacturers did. And the tradition is thankfully kept. Great for me as really when you passed this clock tower you really finally were in Miramar for us, memories. I have the first picture from my last visit in 2012.

havana miramar 5ta avenida clock tower feb12

You will see the Fountain of the Americas located at the beginning of 5th Avenue and the sculptures were made in 1920. The Fountain is integrated into one of the parks on both sides of 5th Avenue, like the 2 large street parks at 24 and 26th streets. It is next to one of these two park blocks that the Church of Santa Rita was built in 1941. In Miramar  numerous artificial beaches were built, the so-called Playas del Oeste or west beaches, formerly private clubs. The Miramar Yacht Club founded in 1926 with a nautical, sporty and social atmosphere, began in 1927 with a classic wooden construction on Avenida 96 and the sea. It was in 1952 that it was replaced by one in modern architecture. The 1950s was the year of the real estate explosion in Miramar, the Almendares tunnel and the Linea tunnel date from this time, to substantially improve access to the neighborhood. The most luxurious buildings in Cuba are built in the Miramar at that time, true mansions and palaces, with swimming pools, large gardens and patios decorated with statues and fountains, which alternated with yacht and social clubs such as the Havana Yacht Club, in addition to others truly colossal churches such as that of Jesús de Miramar Church on 5th avenue and 82 street, in addition to the San Antonio de Padua Church on 5th avenue and 60 street. The picture below on the fountain is from my first visit back ,in 1998.

havana miramar 5ta avenida aug98

At the end of the construction of the Malecon (big bulkward to the ocean) that extended it to the mouth of the Chorrera (tower bordering the Almendares and Cojimar rivers), the 5th Avenue becomes its natural extension, towards the other side of the Almendares River, with which the new neighborhood and all the territory of the west becomes a new housing seat. The crossing that was made through the Pote drawbridge, represented a great problem for the heavy traffic in the area and was finally replaced by a double track underwater tunnel in 1957. The vast majority of the people who lived here left Cuba as a result of the triumph of the Cuban revolution (or as some said the stolen revolution) in 1959 and went with their families to the United States, and Spain mainly.

The unofficial Havana Guide on Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/havana-guide-home/places-in-havana/

The Cuba travel site on Havana : https://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The Cuba tourist office infotur on Havana: https://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, another nostalgic tour of yours truly. Hope you enjoy the post and possibly visit Miramar in better times. The Clock tower or Torre del Reloj is a memory of the past still shining for all to enjoy in Miramar,my Havana, mi La Habana!

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

Tags: , ,
January 22, 2022

Two memorable spots in my nostalgic Havana, La Habana !!!

Of course, when I write/speak about Cuba its all nostalgia from times far away in another world, I am a native son who left the messy dictatorship long ago to into another one before reaching the free world, It has been a long journey indeed. I am remembering my early life and thought about Havana , and search for some pictures , hardly any left but got me one and another on a postcard for the memories still lingered of what it was. My Havana.Mi Habana ! Let me update this older post for you and me and old time’s sake.

When I was just a little boy back in the 60’s I remember my mother Gladys taking me on bus rides the 27, 99, etc into Havana as well as with some friends and family by an Oldsmobile or Chevrolet Bel Air’s mind you.I still have the miniature models of the Bel Air, my maternal grandfather’s cars, One of the essence of Cuba is the cooking, coming from mixtures of races European, African, and in between some Orientals. The choices were big back then, and some scratch for better today.

One of my old time favorites that I have found a picture were the El Conejito (little rabbit) and El Potin (coming from old French Gossips). They are still in my heart today thanks to my dear late mother Gladys or mima as I called her.

The El Conejito was created by 1966 in Vedado district of Havana. On Calle M and 17 . It was a sumptuous restaurant serving many dishes all with the rabbit as main course. I do not recall how many variarities of it they did but it was a full menu carte.  There is not much information online just memories. The below is from a postcard no pictures sadly.

havana-el-conejito-resto c 1971

I remembered we always had to make reservations and it was packed back in the late 60’s. We would be visiting old Havana and on the way home we stopped here; just great souvenirs. Luckily for you,the restaurant is still there and I highly recommend you try it while in Havana. A family hairloom memory ; I believe they are still open.

The El Potin cafeteria restaurant was even closer to home at Linea and Paseo del Prado in Vedado district as well. This is actually a French name meaning gossip, and we really enjoy the cafeteria style sandwiches that are so famous in Paris such as croque monsieur and croque madame as well as French desserts like the Paris Brest! Coffee of course was sublime from the mountains in eastern provinces of Cuba like Oriente; where many French landowner colonists from Haiti settled after the Haiti Revolution of 1805 made them leave there. And maybe this is where my French love affairs really began without noticing it !

havana

I came here with my dear Mom Gladys even more often I recalled, and sat by the terrace looking over Linea street which is a no number street in Vedado. It is one of the modern historical streets there. Linea was for the streetcar (tramway of today ) tracks that ran along this street. It was renamed to Avenida del Presidente Wilson in 1918 and to Doble Vía General Batista in the 50s, but people kept calling it by its original name. One thing that is peculiar about this street is that it has a tunnel across the Almendares River. The picture I have is passing by car as had no will to entered, too many memories.

Again not much information online , just the memoriesI again highly recommend coming here, is not what it was but the feel of Havana and Cuba is still there, and you will mingle with locals. Enjoy i

The unofficial Havana Guidehttps://www.lahabana.com/guide/havana-guide-home/places-in-havana/

The Cuba tourist site on Havanahttps://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The Cuba tourist office on Havanahttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, another nostalgia spot in my vault. These are or were unique places not back since 2012 and do not know if still open. Nevertheless,El Conejito and Potin are here for the memories of always in my blog!

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

Tags: , ,
December 18, 2021

The Capitol of Havana !!

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early childhood years ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country. Again the pictures are from 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I.

One of the most recognisable buildings in Havana and a childhood past time. This is a wonderful building and a must to see while in Havana.  I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana.  The building was destined to host the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba, before its unfortunate revolution. After the Cuban communist revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

havana entero

El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft). It is located between the  calle Pardo, calle Dragones, calle Industria, and calle San Jose, streets. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. The materials  needed to built it were about five million bricks, 38000 cubic meters of sand and 40000 of stones, 150,000 bags of cement, three 1500 tons of structural steel and two thousand of dowels, quantities truly impressive at the times.  It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls in this section were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

havana capitolio-middle-diamond-all-dist-in-cuba-measure

The details of the work made the Capitol building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

havana capitolio front

To continue the description of this wonderful Capitol building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the communist revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne or Giraldilla under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof. Among the treasures of the installation is the statue that symbolizes the Republic (Giraldilla), Legend of love, history, art, symbol….. everything enclosed in this little statue, made by the Cuban sculptor Jeronimo Martin Pinzon in the 3rd decade of the 17C , and which today is the third largest sculpture under the roof in the world.

havana capitolio-la-giraldilla-simbolo-de-la-habana

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidosthe hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance. The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by a Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba (so they said).  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio de La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.

havana capitolio-pas-perdu

The Capitol of Havana constitutes one of the most notable symbols of the city, comparable to the Morro Castle,  Cathedral and the image of the architectural profile of the Malecón . It is named by some experts as one of the six most important palaces in the world.  It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it as I flashing memories in my mind.

The trip Cuba travel site reg in Cuba on the Capitol of Havanahttps://www.tripcuba.org/el-capitolio-havana

The La Habana private travel site on the Capitol of Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/capitolio/

The Havana tourist office on its heritage: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

There you go folks,another dandy memory lane monument in my precious Havana. The Capitol building is it, read could be under renovations, needed for sure but worth the wait to see it anytime. Me always dreaming someday to see all of this again with a better government. Hope you enjoy the post as I recalling these memorable monuments of my Cuba.

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

December 18, 2021

The Cathedral of Havana!

I will go back to tell you about a beautiful building in a distance land, you know its me. I am nostalgic on a cloudy, cold day in my now belle France. I like to tell you about a wonderful building so dear to me when a kid taken there by my dear mother ; this is the Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana or the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Cathedral of Havana.  The Cathedral is link directly with the history of Havana and Cuba. My pictures are from last trip in 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I recalling it.

The Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana  is in the old casco historico or historic center of the city name to UNESCO world heritage sites as a whole. First it was a prayer by old huts and bird dropping use as a house of prayer since 1528 ,then,  it was a prayer site for the disciples of  Saint Ignacio of the order of the Jesuistes in 1727, then construction began by 1748 and by 1767 the collegiale was built but the church not yet completed. It was declared a Cathedral on June 22,  1790. The Cathedral was not finished until 1832.

havana catedral plaza de la catedral

At first , in 1748, the church would be the Oratory of the Children of St. Ignatius of the Order of the Jesuits, then it would become a cathedral. By royal decree in 1714, the Jesuits obtained the long-awaited permission and by 1727 they were notified of the exact place where they could build the church and the convent. In the year 1767, the school was finished, but not the church, at that moment the expulsion of the Jesuits of the New World takes place. In 1772 due to the deplorable state of the major parish, the Spanish authorities decided to move it to the Oratory of San Felipe Neri and in 1777, moved to the church half-built of the Jesuits. In 1778 by order of Bishop Felipe José de Trespalacios began the process of transformation of the old Oratory of St. Ignatius in the Cathedral of Havana, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, whose image is visible on the main altar. The central nave was occupied until the independence of the island by a funerary monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus, then, at the end of the colonial period , the ashes of the admiral  were kept for 100 years ,later were transferred to the Cathedral of Seville. The wooden frame on the funeral square inside the Cathedral of Seville is original wood from Cuba.

havana catedral altar feb12

The Cathedral is of Baroque style, and considered more similar to those done in Tuscany, Italy by its two side bell towers, its temple forms a rectangle of 34×36 meters,with  three naves and eight lateral chapels, divided by thick pillars. The floor is in black and white marble. The sculptures and goldsmith works of the altars as well as of the main shrine were done by the Italian Bianchini, they were executed in Rome in 1820 under the direction of the famous Spanish sculptor Antonio Solá. Behind this altar are three original frescoes by the Italian painter Perovani. The interior paintings were made by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Vermay. Among the various chapels that houses is the one of Notre Dame of Loreto, 1755, before the transformation in cathedral of the former Jesuit parish, it has an independent entrance. There is  a  fine sculpture of  San Cristobal or Saint Christopher, patron saint of Havana, (for Christopher Columbus name as Havana official name is San Cristobal de La Habana) dates from 1632 and was made by Martín Andújar in Sevilla. Its dome that is below the side towers is visible from the surrounding buildings with an intense orange color.

havana catedral inside feb12

It is surrounded by the square that bears its name, Plaza de la Catedral, that houses the mansions of the colonial nobility, among these are the Palace of the Marquis of Arcos, the House of the Counts of Casa Bayona, 1720, which is currently the Museum of Colonial Art and the mansion of the Marques de Aguas Claras. Also, the Palacio del Conde Lombillo or palace of count of LombilloThe Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral in 1998 to try to bring peace and respect of human life to the island rule by a so call communist dictatorship.

The Havana tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Cuba tourist office on Havana: https://infotur.cu/es/destinos/habana

 The Archdioceses of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva/historia/

The Catholic Church in Cuba, with parisheshttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/directory/132

There you go folks, a dandy on a beautiful experience in diehard Havana, Cuba. Hope it helps your understanding and see the wonders of the Paris of the Americas (Havana) even in its still sad situation. The Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana is beautiful, simply call it the Catédral!

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

December 17, 2021

The historical castles of Havana !!

We like castles, actually I love them. Just one reason for me to visit a city is if it has a castle,. Any shape really a castle on a hill or by a river is just wonderful. My old Havana has plenty and still in good shape as i recall. I like to tell you a bit about them. Hope you enjoy it as I recalling these memorable castles from pictures taken in my last trip of 2012.

In the first place the Castle of the Royal Forces or Castillo de la Real Fuerza was built, the oldest of all. After it was built at the same time the Castle of the Morro and the Castle of the Punta, to finally add the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. Not to leave out the more inland Castle of  Atares, and the more sinister Castle of the Prince.

After the British took Havana in 1762, besieging the castle of Morro from the hill where today stands the Fortress San Carlos de La Cabaña, the Spaniards realized that they needed to build a new fort that complemented the defenses of the city . When they recovered the villa in 1763,(treaty of Paris), the construction of the fortress began. It was the most expensive building that financed Spain outside the peninsula, being also today the largest fortress in all of America. With the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, Che Guevara installed his command center in San Carlos de la Cabaña. At this time numerous deaths by firing squads were also carried out. Today the San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress functions as a historic park, along with the nearby Morro Castle. Also inside is the museum of fortifications and Weapons as well as restaurants and shops. But the most famous attraction is the cannon at 9pm or 21h, recreated by military dressed in 18C uniforms. It is reminiscent of the time when Havana was surrounded by ramparts, whose gates were closed every day at 21h.

Havana castillo-de-la-cabana-overlooking-havana-harbor

Located at the entrance of the Bay of Havana, next to the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro  or castle of the three kings of the morro, was one of the strategic points of the defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction of the castle took place between the years 1589 and 1630, at the same time as the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta, an impregnable fortress up to 1762, when the English troops after a siege of about two months, managed to get the castle of the  Three kings of the Morro and therefore the city.  An irregular polygon that is formed by huge walls of 3 meters of height surrounded by a deep moat. The most emblematic point of the castle is the lighthouse of the Morro, it has illuminated the entrance of the boats to the bay from 1844. With a height of 30 meters, it is the ideal place to enjoy with the panoramic view of the Malecon of Havana, especially at dusk. Nowadays, it is part of the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park, along with the nearby fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, and inside it is the Maritime Museum.

Havana

Located next to the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of Old Havana, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza or castle of the Royal Forces was part of the defensive ensemble that the city had during the colonial era, next to the San Salvador de la Punta Castle and the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park.  The Royal Force Castle was the first to be built in Havana, in fact it is considered the oldest stone fortress in America. The works began in 1558 and were terminated in 1577, although it soon lost its defensive function due to its remoteness from the bay. In 1588 became the residence of the Governor of Havana, later it worked as a national archive, army barracks or National Library. Today the castle of the Royal Force houses the Museum of the Royal Force and in its impressive moat the most important maritime museum in Cuba. The most striking element of the ensemble is the tower that houses the Giraldilla, it was added in 1634. It is a woman-shaped vane that is one of the symbols of the city, besides being the oldest cast bronze sculpture in Cuba. The weather vane that can be seen today on the tower of waiting (Torre de la Espera) is a copy, the original is kept in the museum of the city.

Havana Castillo de la Fuerza side apr12

Located at the entrance of Havana Bay, Castillo San Salvador de la Punta or St Saviour of the point castle formed along with the castle of the three Kings del Morro, the main line of defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction works began in the year 1590, parallel to the works in the nearby Castillo del Morro. Because of this proximity, since 1630 when the cannon of  9pm (21h)  was sounded and the doors of the wall were closed, a heavy copper chain was stretched between the two forts to leave the access to the bay closed. In 1997 a deep renovation was carried out to install in this historic building the Castle Museum. At the moment you can see in the Castillo de la Punta a hall that tells the history of the fortress, as well as an exhibition of ships built on the island and a treasure room with objects that have been found in the marine depths.

havana fortaleza-de-san-salvador-de-la-punta

The Castle of Atarés, military fortress that integrates the defensive system of Havana built by the Spaniards to protect the city in the 18C. The Castillo de Santo Domingo de Atarés, began construction in 1763, together with that of the fortress of the Cabañas, due to the need to complete the defense of the villa in its vulnerable points. The Castillo de Santo Domingo de Atarés was the first of these new military buildings to be completed, specifically in 1767. On the Loma de Soto  site from where the bay is partially dominated, an irregular hexagon without bastions, crowned in its vertices by the same hexagonal openings, which corresponds to the forms used for these elements during the 18C. The castle has a large vaulted bomb-proof barracks in its enclosure for all the garrison that can contain cistern, warehouses and all the offices necessary for its defense. It was fitted with 26 cannons and its garrison had about 90 men.  The castle was named in honor of Count Ricla, whose father was the Earl of Atarés. In addition, in complements this fortress has a covered road filling and a small central square, surrounded by constructions for lodging, warehouses and other services, in whose roofs were conditioned platforms to establish the artillery, as well as a perimeter trench.

Havana castillo-de-atares

The Castle of the Prince or Castillo del Príncipe is a military fort located in the Loma de Aróstegui of Havana. The fort was built during the surge of military construction in Cuba, after the end of the capture of Havana by the British that lasted almost a year, when the Spanish government realized that the city was unprotected and transformed the Key of the New World in the most fortified city in the Americas. The castle is named after Charles of Bourbon, Prince of Asturias, son and future successor of King Charles III of Spain. Construction began in 1767, not being completely finished until after 1779, The fortification resembles an irregular pentagon with two bastions, two semi-bastions and a rediente. It has large pits, mine galleries, warehouses, offices, a well and accommodation for a garrison of about 900 men. Its artillery was equipped with 60 pieces of various calibers. The heavy iron and bronze gate that closed the intramural passage in El Templete was moved to this castle. The Castillo del Príncipe, which since 1926 was used as a Prison, (and many firing squads under the Cuban revolution) was officially deactivated on June 28, 1974 In the Castillo del Príncipe in 1888, the Cuban Grand Master and World Chess Champion José Raúl Capablanca was born, the son of a Spanish army officer who lived in the Castillo del Príncipe. Still today is not open to the public.

The bay of Havana was heavily protected because after some mishaps the Spaniards learned to assembled the fleet with the gold of the Americas here, and then set sail for Spain with all the load and minimize the attack by pirates/corsairs and other powers.

The Havana tourist office on Havanahttps://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Cuba tourist office infotur on Havanahttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, a dandy set of castles in still beautiful Havana, Cuba. Hope it helps you one day visit or me one day revisit them.  And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

December 17, 2021

Former Basilica convent of Saint Francis of Asisi, Havana!!

Well looking back at older posts realised only briefly mentioned in previous posts, and think it deserves better in my blog. This is old nostalgia lane so old maybe some will know more updated info on it. I am one of those displaced by political reasons long ago, but my Havana always stayed with me in my heart. Let me tell you and me a bit more on the former Basilica Convent of San Francisco de Asisi in La Habana!!

The Church and Convent of San Francisco de Asís are located on the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, in Old Havana. The church was built between 1548 and 1591, although after several structural reforms and remodeling it was completed almost two hundred years later, in 1538. Currently, the Minor Basilica of the Convent has been converted into a famous concert hall thanks to its excellent acoustics; and both the church and the convent house the Museum of Religious Art that displays various paintings, silver objects, carvings, and pieces of religious ceramics and archaeological pieces. Some of the pieces date from the end of the 17C.

church-st-francis-de-assis-havana-cuba-1607

The Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi is a former convent of the Friars Minor , its conventual church, called the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, had the status of a minor basilica, but is now desecrated and serves in particular as a concert hall.

havana-church-st-francisco-de-asis-apr12

The construction of the first conventual buildings began in 1574-1575, to be completed in 1591. But violent storms in 1680 and 1692 damaged the church, and a hurricane caused the church tower to collapse in 1694. It was decided to raze and rebuild. The new church was built in a very sober Baroque style, between 1719 and 1738. It was consecrated the following year with the rank of minor basilica, in connection with Saint-John of Latran in Rome, In 1762, in the midst of the Seven Years’ War in Europe, the city was taken by the British, and the church was used for Anglican worship. The Treaty of Paris signed the following year returned the island to the Spaniards, but the city’s bishop considered the church to have been desecrated, and opposed its being used again to serve Catholic worship

In 1841, the Spanish colonial government confiscated the property of the community and employed the convent as a warehouse and customs office in Havana. In 1846, the nave and the choir of the basilica were damaged by a violent tornado; they were destroyed in 1850 and replaced by a trompe-l’oeil painting. In 1907, after Cuban independence, the buildings housed the Post and Telegraph Directorate, then, in 1915-1916, the town’s telephone and telegraph exchanges and the General Directorate of Communications (which later became the Ministry of Communications). At the Cuban revolution, the convent was transformed into a museum of colonial history including an important collection of sacred art. In 1982 the church was restored but on October 4, 1994, it was inaugurated as a concert hall (chamber music and sacred music), then in 1995 a museum of sacred art opened its doors.  Transitory works by Cuban and foreign artists are displayed in the rooms and galleries of the convent, while serving as the stage for conferences, presentations and other national and international events. Among the collection of objects that the museum houses, archaeological pieces, goldsmiths and paintings from different parts of Latin America stand out. Sacred art is also strongly linked to this architectural work. Especially religious worship, the Museum of Sacred Art that houses the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, shows archaeological pieces, crafts, furniture, textiles and a precious collection of tableware with religious motifs, found in excavations from the Historic Center of the city of Havana. The church has a beautiful garden in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta where sculptures by contemporary artists are displayed.

havana plaza san francisco de asisi and church feb12

The basilica has a nave with three aisles supported by twelve massive columns representing the Twelve Apostles. Without a choir since the tornado of 1846, it ends with an oblique wall decorated with a trompe-l’oeil fresco. The basilica is flanked by a 42-meter-high three-tiered tower that has long been the tallest in the city. Its facade, which overlooks Calle Oficios, bears three statues representing the Immaculate Conception, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Guzmán. The convent complex includes two successive cloisters. The first, adjoining the basilica, has two floors and provides access to the tower by crossing the basilica’s gallery and a terrace. The second has three flights of arcades and a central fountain.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana in English: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Habana.com webpage on the Basilica Convent San Francisco de Asisi in English: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/basilica-menor-y-convento-de-san-francisco-de-asis/

There you go folks, a dandy building to see if ever changes, but for many possible. This is part of the old beautiful history of my Havana showing its splendor of its best. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

%d bloggers like this: