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Architecture and Tourism in Cuba
Date: APR 07, 2008
Other Reports

The Cuban archipelago, one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the Caribbean, nurtures from the island nation's rich history from the Spanish colonial period, architecture, customs, traditions and culture.

Havana was founded on its current location in 1519, and many of its buildings have survived the passage of time and can be admired today.

Nearly 140 buildings in Old Havana were built in the 16th and 17th centuries; another 200 were constructed in the 18th century and more than 460 in the 19th century. They create a very attractive combination of architectural styles, including baroque, neogothic, neoclassicism, eclecticism, art noveau and the modern movement.

The heart of the Cuban capital consists of a series of castles, fortresses and highly valuable buildings constructed around a system of squares, monasteries and temples.

One of the symbols of Cuban architecture in Havana is the Capitol, which experts consider the second highest point in the capital.

Architects and historian agree that the Capitol is an almost perfect work of engineering from the early 20th century, and one of the world's top six most relevant palaces.

Five million bricks, 38,000 cubic meters of sand, 40,000 cubic meters of gravel, 150,000 bags of cement, 3,500 tons of structural steel and 2,000 tons of rods were used to build the Capitol.

Another characteristic building in the city is the Castle of the Three Kings of Morro, which was designed by Italian military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli.

It is a Renaissance fortress in the shape of an irregular polygon with three powerful bastions overlooking the bay, the entry to the port and the city.

Governor Don Pedro Valdés made major contributions to its construction during his mandate (1600-1607), when the solid platform where the 12-piece battery called "Los 12 Apóstoles" (The Twelve Apostles), which can still be seen today, was deployed.

At the end of his government, only few complementary works had not been completed, including the soldiers' barracks, water deposits and the magazine. The fortress of La Cabaña was completed a few years later.

Silent witnesses of Havana's development, the two fortresses were followed by the famous city Walls, which were built in 1740, thus the custom of shooting a cannon before closing the nine gates to Havana, a tradition that has remained until today.

The very development of the city led to the destruction of the walls, the ruins of which can still be seen around the city.



Havana`s Capitol.
Castle of Los Tres Reyes del Morro
Remnant of battlement in the Wall
Capitolio. Dome.
Chamber floor.
View of the Wall. Fragment
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  • Gallery
    Havana`s Capitol.

    Choose a small photo to enlarge:
    Havana`s Capitol. Castle of Los Tres Reyes del Morro Remnant of battlement in the Wall Capitolio. Dome. Chamber floor. View of the Wall. Fragment El Morro`s lighthouse Detail of the ceiling. View from Malecón (seafront) Step lost saloon. Capitolio. Front view.
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