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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Attractions in the Capital

Havana, the main urban center in Cuba, attracts the attention of national and foreign tourists due to its diverse attractions.

Specialized museums, art galleries, theaters, shopping centers, hotels and inns come together in the city, also favored by the architectural diversity accumulated over 500 years of existence.

In addition, Havana holds a wide spectrum of construction styles that provides the city with cultural values in buildings that combine elements of baroque, neo-gothic, neoclassicism, eclecticism, art nouveau and the modern movement.

About 140 of the buildings in Havana's historic heart date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, 200 were built in the 18th century and more than 460 are from the 19th century, thus creating a full mix of attractions for the most demanding holidaymakers.

Havana also has several squares, with special highlight for Arms', Cathedral, Old and Saint Francis of Assisi squares. The latter borders the church and the convent of the same name.

In this environment, projects executed in the past stand out, including the Alameda de Paula, the oldest promenade in the Cuban capital.

Santa María del Mar Beach.

Considered the first promenade in the city, its construction was completed in 1776, when it became a real social and cultural space in Havana. It was designed by Antonio Fernández Trebejo under the instructions of Captain General Felipe Pons de la Viela, Marquis of La Torre.

At the beginning, it consisted of an embankment decorated with two rows of poplars and stone benches, and it was described as a pleasant entertainment for the residents of Villa de San Cristóbal, which lacked recreational sites at that time.

In 1847, an ornamented marble fountain was incorporated to the promenade. That year, several small palaces that have become treasures of Cuban architecture were built in its surroundings.

It is worth mentioning that the name of promenade comes from its proximity to the old hospital of Saint Francis of Paula, whose construction began in 1664 along with a nearby church, which was also given the same name.

In 1730, a hurricane that hit the capital destroyed the two buildings, but they were rebuilt with a similar function and baroque architectural style, until the hospital and part of the church were demolished in 1946.

The Alameda de Paula is one of the walking areas in Old Havana that are most frequently chosen by foreign tourists in search of breaks while enjoying Cuba's culture and history.

The promenade is very popular in the city, especially now that the Cuban capital is close to celebrating its 500th anniversary (November 16, 2019).

Hence, many people, in addition to their programs and tour packages, want to spend time walking and getting to know interesting places in Havana, such as the Paula promenade and church, near the sea.

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