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Havana: A 500-Year-Old Wonder

Havana, Cuba's major city and the country's capital, holds a wide range of attractions in its spaces, linked to traditions and history.

The 500-year-old village of San Cristobal de La Habana is one of the most faithful exponents of Spanish colonial architecture in Cuba, marked by a notoriety that began in the late 16th century, with its own characteristics although with a strong Iberian influence.

Called at that time Antemural City of the West Indies and the Key to the New World, Havana is currently a singular living museum of the most diverse constructive styles, a reflection of the stages of development through which the historic city went.

In addition, Havana holds the title of "Wonder City" after being chosen by thousands of people in the contest of the Swiss foundation New7Wonders, due to its "mythical attraction, warmth of its environment, and the charisma and joviality of its inhabitants."

The voting was carried out through several platforms worldwide, on which the other winners were La Paz (Bolivia), Doha (Qatar), Durban (South Africa), Beirut (Lebanon), Vigan (Philippines) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Havana also ranked among the 25 most photographed locations on the planet and placed 21st in the ranking on several web pages and portals.

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

Among Havana's attractions is its fortress system, with the emblematic Castle of the Three Kings of Morro. The defensive system was made up of nine great constructions that constitute the most remarkable group of its type in the Hispanic Americas.

Among these works, the Castle of 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 reign of the Catholic Monarchs and was also called Elizabethan.

In addition, about 140 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 were constructed in the 19th century, thus forming a full mix of attractions for the more demanding tastes.

Several squares are located in Havana, with special highlight for those known as Arms, 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.

The city also retains distinctive features such as the famous Prado Promenade and the well-known Alameda de Paula, the latter was built in the second half of the 18th century. Both places were very popular among the capital's inhabitants at the time.

In the city, buildings represent such architectural styles as Renaissance and Art Deco, as well as Mudejar, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and the Cuban Baroque.

The Cuban Baroque is present in the Palace of the Captain Generals, whose façade is dominated by a dozen large columns that form supports, and a front street that retains the original structure of wooden blocks.

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