Having worked for 40+ years (I know! I’m an old man) in neighborhoods that have been totally destroyed because of a variety of reasons, none of them good (rioting, arson, drug infestation etc), I was pretty well prepared for what I would see in Havana. After 50+ years of neglect, these buildings are mostly in total disrepair and are still inhabited by several generations of families living together.
Although in various states of Decrepitude, many of the buildings continue to show signs of the beauty Havana once was before the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Well there is hope. Old City Havana (Habana Vieja) has been designated a World Heritage Site and signs of restoration can be found.
Here’s a look at some of the buildings we saw while walking the streets of Havana.
Habana Vieja: contains the core of the original city of Havana. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plaza Vieja: a plaza in Old Havana, it was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas. It is also a great place to grab a locally made Cerveza.
El Capitolio (National Capitol Building): was the seat of government in Cuba until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Its design and name recall the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Completed in 1929, it was the tallest building in Havana until the 1950s and houses the world’s third largest indoor statue.
El Morro Fortress: is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana harbor; Built in 1929, Morro Castle was built because of the threat to the harbor from pirates. Dan Sniffin and I spent some time shooting there. Dan was very intrigued with the photo opportunities that the pedestrian tunnel offered.
The Great Theatre of Havana: is an opera house famous particularly for the National Ballet of Cuba. It sometimes hosts performances by the National Opera. The theater is also known as concert hall, García Lorca, the biggest in Cuba. We had the privilege of being able to shoot during one of the rehearsals.
I hope you enjoyed a brief l0ok at the architecture in Havana as seen thru the lens of my camera.