Old Havana



We begin with Havana, by far the largest and most populous city in Cuba. Above is the Avenue de los Presidentes (Avenue of the Presidents), seen from the Hotel Presidente.


Obispo Street

And we start our exploration by taking a stroll down one of Old Havana’s downtown streets. Running from the El Floridita Restaurant and bar on the west to the Ambos Mundos Hotel on the east, Obispo Street is defined at both ends by locations made famous by Ernest Hemingway. We will get to those locations later, but in the mean time we can note that Obispo Street is a busy pedestrian-only street in the heart of old Havana. On Obispo Street you can ...


... admire elegant old architecture ...

El Floridita

... visit famous places ...

El Clip

... see interesting shop signs ...

fake cop

... and meet interesting local people!

people at tables in street

... linger in the street ...


... see over-the-top artistic details ...

souvenir shop

Or you can just go shopping.

souvenir shop
souvenir shop
souvenir shop

souvenir shop
souvenir shop


Plaza de Armas


Near the end of Obispo Street is Plaza de Armas ...

horsedrawn carriages

... and just beyond are carriages for tourists to hire.


The former Governor’s Mansion is at the Plaza ...


... it serves now as the City of Havana Museum.

hotel facade

Hotel Santa Isabel, also at the Plaza de Armas.

hotel lobby

Lobby of Hotel Santa Isabel.

plaza gate

The Plaza de Armas is also a park ...

stuff for sale

... with people trying to sell things along the walks.


Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana

Cathedral facade

Havana’s main cathedral, dating from 1748, is unusual in that its twin bell towers are unequal in size, giving its baroque facade an asymmetrical layout. This aspect of its design is said to have been an accommodation to a problem of water drainage from the plaza in front of it.

plaza gate

In evenings the plaza is filled with tables and chairs, creating a comfortable gathering place where Cubans can have a drink and light snack.

stuff for sale

The cathedral’s interior is dominated by massive pillars, giving it a rather austere ambience.


Some Havana Monuments and Forts


Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, at Plaza de San Francisco.


Lonja del Comercio (former stock exchange) at P. de San Francisco.


El Templete.


Museo de Arte Colonial, at Plaza de la Catedral.


Monumento a Cristóbal Colón.


La Giradilla (a bronze weather vane) atop Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

fort beyond water

Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes Magnos del Morro, at harbor entrance.

fort beyond water

San Carlos de La Cabaña, a little further into the harbor.

fort at night
fort at night

A re-enactment of the old practice of closing the harbor at 9PM with a chain and a cannon shot takes place at the Castillo del Morro.


Touches of Elegance


Just off of Mercaderes Street.


Where the means for maintenance have been available or restorations have taken place, some places in Old Havana retain the grandeur of their pre-revolution origins.



Entrance on Mercaderes Street.


Just off Plaza de San Francisco de Asis at Oficios Street.

hotel lobby

Atrium of Hotel Valencia, on Oficios Street.


At Casa de Los Condes de Casa Barreto, on Oficios Street.

pretty building

Empedrado and Mercaderes Streets.





























Hamming it up for tourists or going about their daily lives, there are over two million of them in Havana.

women with cigars