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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Cultural Options for Tourism

Cuba, a tourist stronghold in the Caribbean region, has a broad catalogue of options to meet the demands from thousands of foreign holidaymakers who visit the island every year.

Traditional sun and beach options are complemented by very attractive modalities like health tourism, cruise ships, nature, events and nautical activities.

In addition, the country's cultural and historic values are highly appreciated by foreign tourists.

City tourism is mainly promoted in Havana, the country's capital, where nearly 140 buildings in the city's historic heart were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, 200 in the 18th century and more than 460 in the 19th century.

The city also shows distinctive sites, like the famous Prado and Paula Promenades. The latter was built in the second half of the 18th century. Both places were very popular among Havana dwellers at the time.

In addition to gastronomic and tourist options, Havana stands out for its famous cultural facilities, like the Grand Theater of Havana, one of the most important institutions of its kind in Latin America.

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In the beginning (1838), it was the Tacón Theater, named after Captain General Miguel de Tacón y Rosique, who was Cuba's governor between 1834 and 1838.

The theater was designed by the architect Antonio Mayo, who conceived the building with an eclectic style with 90 boxes and 20 rows to sit 2,000 spectators.

At the time, the Tacón was the largest and most luxurious theater in the American continent and, due to its technical conditions, it ranked third in the world, after La Scala Theater in Milan and the Opera Theater in Vienna.

World renowned artists performed at the Tacón Theater, including Fanny Elssler in 1841 and Sarah Bernhardt in 1887, in addition to the tenor Enrico Caruso, the flamenco dancers Carmen Amaya and Antonio Gades, and the musicians Arthur Rubinstein and Sergei Rachmaninov

The Grand Theater of Havana was inaugurated in 1914. It was designed by the Belgian architect Paul Beleu and consists of several halls (including the García Lorca Hall), for concerts, lectures and video screening, as well as art galleries, a choral center and several rehearsal rooms for dance companies and dancers.

Famous for its excellent acoustics and architectural beauty, it is the usual stage for the National Ballet of Cuba and the seasons of the National Lyric Theater of Cuba, which presents operas, zarzuelas, operettas and concerts, as well as the Spanish Ballet of Cuba and the company Danza Contemporánea de Cuba.

Between 2013 and 2015, the Grand Theater of Havana underwent major restoration works and was reopened on January 1, 2016.

Reconstruction works covered the entire building, including the façades, lobbies, boxes, roof and stage.

The theater was equipped with new furniture, curtains, air conditioning and acoustic systems, stage mechanics, rehearsal halls for dancers and the orchestra, a recording studio and more than 20 dressing rooms.

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