Havana was originally founded in 1514 by Velasquez with the name Batabano. During the 17th and 18th centuries,
Havana became truly prosperous from the slave and sugar trades, now it is one of Cuba's largest cities, an important center of culture tourist attraction.
Havana prospered during the Spanish rule and under various dictators. Rich were allowed to prosper, while the workers were forced to accept abysmal substandard.
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Great castles and defensive walls were build in response to attacks by French pirates, but proved ineffective against the powerful British forces who held the city for almost a year in 1762.
The City has an unique cultural composition that can be seen through people, art, and music. Havana features some of the best music and dance clubs in Cuba, all types of music are available, African flavor. Cuban Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Salsa.
For someone who is looking for luxury and comfort to stay in Habana Vieja the best place to stay is the five stars hotel right at the Arms Square, just a few meters from the place where San Cristobal del la Habana village was once founded, the magnificent palace of Santovenia Count became in 1867 the favorite hotel of those ship-fitters, merchants, artist, scientist and illustrious travelers who, upon their passing through the capital city, would choose it due to its comfort and elegance.
A century after its first inauguration, Santa Isabel opens its doors keeping its original elegance, comfort and splendor in a way it provides you a trip through Cuba's history, architecture, art and culture. From the terrace of hotel Santa Isabel you can enjoy the sight of monuments that make this baroque and eclectic city a unique one, as well the Havana Bay and its imposing fortresses.
Old Havana is declared a World Heritage Site in 1982, La Habana Vieja is one of the oldest settlements in the America's - full of charming, weatherworn buildings and narrow, intriguing roadways.
You needn't be an architecture buff to be instantly disarmed by the delightful atmosphere enveloping this city. Crawling along in Havana's subtropical heat you will welcome these unique opportunities to meet ordinary Cubans.
Havana has grown immensely since then, and La Habana Vieja long ago spread past its old defensive walls into the neighboring areas of Centro Habana.
That is where La Habana Vieja comes in. Drenched in history, it is a truly awe-inspiring place to wander aimlessly among churches, museums, gallerias and memorials.
Catedral San Cristobal Church
Relaxing in open doorways, Cubans chat for all to hear with neighbors down the street. Strolling along the Bahia del la Habana on Avenida del Puerto, you will encounter the Castillo Real de la Fuerza. Built between 1558 and 1577, it is the oldest colonial fortress in the Americas and affords an excellent view across the harbor entrance.
An art gallery sits on the main floor, where the massive stone walls offer cool respite from soaring Havana temperatures.
Beside the Castillo Real de la Fuerza lies Plaza de Armas and the Plalacio de los Capitanes Generales. Decorated with massive, gently swaying palms and a statue of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes - land owner and revolutionary leader during the
10-year struggle against Spanish rule that began in 1868. The Plaza is an excellent place to relax while admiring the stately charm of this magnificent building. The palace has been a museum since the late sixties, statue of Columbus stands in courtyard.
Just 200 m from the Arms Square on privileged corner, is the old house of the Councilman Sotolongo, originally built as a private house at the end of the 18 century, loges today The Hostal Valencia. This is the place where Valencian celebrated their traditions and worshiped.
Hostal Valecia is a beautifully decorated small hotel with verity of exotic plants hanging from the roof and balustrades down to the floor in the small square in the middle of this colonial style hotel. Its carved roof and the iron works of its balconies give to its rooms light and freshness. All of the rooms are equipped with color televisions, private bathrooms and mini bars.
At Nostalgia bar you can find the best music of the fifties. There is a good place to eat Paellas in Old Havana . The Valecia restaurant is a winner of the best prize at the International Paella's Contest in Sueca, Spain for two years. Restaurant " La Palella" is open from 12 AM to 11PM, Bar Nostalgia 3 PM to 3 AM , Bar tienda " Entresuelo" at 7AM to 6 Pm..
Pristine beaches are only a 15 minutes ride east of the city. The short distance to Playas del Easte will require a $CUC 15 cab ride, as buses are heavily crowded. Beaches of Playa del Este begin about 18 kilometers east of Havana and stretch another 12 kilometers to Guanabo, they are excellent for swimming.
You also have a great view of Havan's Jesus Christo statue, La Giraldilla Havana Emblem unfortunately it's a replica the original statue "La Giraldilla", is in the museum. The best location in Old Havana historical heart has Hotel Santa Isabel.
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