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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Airs of Celebration in Havana

Havana, Cuba's major city and an important tourist destination, is hosting an extensive program of celebrations for the 500th anniversary of its foundation.

Publications of the most diverse nature give an account of Cuba's, with options for all visitors.

Recently, as a new element, the British travel magazine Time Out published a list of the most attractive neighborhoods in the world and included Old Havana in the 39th position.

The publication stressed that with its arranged squares, irregular buildings, baroque churches, open-air cafés, great bars, shops, galleries and creative neighborhoods, Old Havana is a place that attracts visitors.

Time Out highlighted neighborhoods, areas and cities whose star is on the rise and in which travelers can feel like locals, as well as discover the best of art, culture, food and drinks in the city.

The Cuban capital, once the village of San Cristobal de La Habana, is one of the most faithful exponents of the colonial architecture in the country, marked by a notoriety that began in the late 16th century, with its own characteristics but with a strong Spanish influence.

View of the Castle of the Three Kings of El Morro from Havana`s Malecón
Capitolio. Golden dome.
Center for the Development of Visual Arts

In that environment, its system of fortresses, with the emblematic Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro (Morro Castle), consists of nine large constructions that constitute - according to experts - the most notable group of its kind in the Hispanic Americas.

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

Likewise, about 140 of the buildings located in the historic heart of the capital were constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, another 200 belong to the 18th century and more than 460 are from the 19th century, thus creating a full mix of attractions.

Dozens of properties from earlier times are located in Havana's historic heart, including the Capitol, the second highest point in the Cuban capital.

Originally intended as the headquarters of the Congress of the Republic, it was built in about three years. It has some 26,000 square meters of gardens designed by French urbanist Jean Claude Forestier, with walks, sidewalks, benches and 100 lamps.

There are several renowned places in Havana, with special emphasis on the Arms and Cathedral squares, the so-called Old Square and that of Saint Francis of Assisi, the latter is adjacent to the church and convent of the same name.

The city also has distinctive features such as the famous Paseo del Prado (Prado Promenade) and the well-known Alameda de Paula (Paula Promenade), the latter was built in the second half of the 18th century. Both places were favorite spots for the capital's inhabitants at the time.

In the city, buildings from the Renaissance to art deco, passing through Mudejar, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and Cuban Baroque are together.

Many of the buildings and historic sites, in perfect condition and almost without showing the trace of time on its façades and walls, open their doors as a safe destination for the thousands of holidaymakers who spend their vacations in the Cuban capital every year.

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