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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Havana Is Approaching Five Centuries

Havana, the Cuban capital, a tourist destination par excellence, is approaching the five centuries of its foundation with an incomparable wealth of traditions and history.

Founded in 1519 under the shadow of a ceiba tree, Havana eventually became a cosmopolitan city full of pilgrims eager to know it in depth.

As an element to be highlighted, the Cuban capital is included among the seven wonder cities of the world, with an offer for tourism that combines sun and beach with heritage, culture and history.

Known as the village of San Cristobal de La Habana, it is one of the most faithful exponents of colonial architecture in Cuba, marked by a notoriety that began in the late 16th century, with its own characteristics but with a strong Iberian influence.

In fact, the city is a mixture of architectural styles that include Renaissance, Art Deco, Mudejar, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and Cuban Baroque, as well as being the center of the country's cultural panorama.

Havana has an area of 732 square kilometers and 15 municipalities, nine of which are fully urban, including 4.5 square kilometers in the city's historic heart, the most attractive sector for foreign visitors.

Night view of Paula Church
Façade of Armadores de Santander Hotel
Castle of the Royal Force

Three dozen museums, 10 art galleries, 25 theaters and unique institutions such as the National Ballet of Cuba and Casa de las Americas endorse this position, as the Cuban capital also hosts several international film, dance, visual arts and literature festivals, among other cultural expressions.

The Cuban capital is also holds unique constructions such as the Capitol of Havana, which is considered by specialists among the six most important palaces worldwide.

Its system of fortresses, with the emblematic Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro (Morro Castle), is made up of nine large fortifications that constitute, according to the experts, the most remarkable group of its kind in the Hispanic Americas.

Among those fortifications, the so-called Castillo de la Real Fuerza (completed around 1577) paved the way in the continent to Renaissance design in military constructions, with a style that prevailed in Spain during the kingdom of the Catholic Monarchs and was also called Elizabethan.

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

Several squares are located in Havana, with special highlight for those known as Armas, Cathedral, the so-called Old Square and that of Saint Francis of Assisi, the latter bordering the church and the convent of the same name.

As an element that stands out, the Malecon (seafront drive) is one of the main arteries of the city and a must-see for all who visit Cuba as a destination for leisure and recreation.

In addition, the bay was the meeting point of the Spanish fleet before leaving for the metropolis taking the wealth extracted from its colonies under strong custody, which protected the ships from the constant siege of pirates and corsairs.

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