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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Havana: A 497-year-old Tourist Destination

The Cuban capital, a tourist destination par excellence in the largest of the Antilles, is one of the main attractions for international visitors who visit the island every year.

A wide hotel infrastructure and services, nearby beach areas such as the so-called Blue Circuit and numerous cultural centers complement the leisure offer of the largest urban nucleus of the archipelago.

Declared among the seven Wonder Cities of the World, Havana justifies this and many other awards not only for its beauty and mobility, but also for the traditions of its people.

It is worth mentioning that more than 90 percent of all travelers arriving in the country, whether in rest, business or medical care, travel through the streets of the capital.

For this reason, the economy of the territory responds to industry, commerce, services and tourism, with 47 percent of all hotels in the archipelago installed in its space.

The former villa of San Cristobal de La Habana, founded in November 1519, is one of the most faithful exponents of the colonial architecture of the island, marked by a notoriety that began from the end of the 16th century, with its own characteristics but with a strong Iberian influence.

El Comendador Hotel. Façade
Night view of Paula Church
Façade of Armadores de Santander Hotel

Also known at that time as the West Indies City and Key to the New World, it now represents a unique living museum of the most diverse constructive styles, reflecting the stages of development through which the historic city went through.

Its system of fortresses, with the emblematic Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro, encompassed nine large constructions to constitute – according to the experts - the most remarkable set of its kind in Hispanic America.

About 140 of the buildings located in the historic center of the capital have an origin dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, another 200 to the 18th century and more than 460 to the 19th, thus forming a full mix of attractions for the more demanding tastes.

Numerous squares are located in the geography of Havana, with special emphasis on those known as Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Plaza Vieja and San Francisco de Asís, the latter bordering the church and the convent of the same name.

The city also preserves distinctive features such as the famous Paseo del Prado and the well-known Alameda de Paula, the latter built in the second half of the 18th century, both obligatory transit sites for the inhabitants of those times.

Its patrimonial values were recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) when declaring it a World Heritage Site in 1982.

In the spaces of the city there are buildings that represent from Renaissance to Art Deco, passing through Mudejar, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and the Cuban Baroque.

The culmination of the latter is shown in the Palace of the Captains General, with a facade dominated by a dozen large columns that form supports, and a front street that retains the original structure of wooden paving stones.

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