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Old Havana
Old Havana, located around the five main squares, and has one of the most impressive ensembles of historical architecture. From Baroque to Art Deco, from Neoclassicism to Art Nouveau, the rainbow-colored facades of the area adorn the diverse cultural heritage of Cuba. Founded in the early 16th century on the southwest coast of Cuba by Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez, Havana moved twice before taking permanent establishment on the Caribbean island’s northwest coast. Strategically chosen for its location in the Gulf of Mexico, Havana became a mandatory stop for ships traveling to and from the New World, and quickly became the largest port in the Spanish West Indies. Today, the city still claims some of the oldest stone fortifications in the Americas, and Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, claims some of the most beautiful architecture.
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Malecon
The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a complex but smart design for the seawall, which was to be a lot more than just a promenade. According to historical records, the avenue was supposed to be constructed 4 meters above sea level. The whole project would cost 850,000 pesos, but the Spanish government didn’t bring itself to issue the construction permit and Albear’s proposal was postponed. The construction of the Malecón began in 1901. After the first stretch was completed, for which several public facilities were demolished, construction works were resumed in 1921, and again in the 30’s.The architectural richness of the Malecón is also expressed through 18th- and 19th-century stately homes, followed by a row of 20th-century buildings with an unusual combination of styles and profusion of portals, columns and pilasters that loosely follow classical lines. But beyond the architectural values of the buildings, its greatest charm lies in being somewhere to stroll or hang out on a stiflingly hot day. It is a place where couples come to make amends, especially at sunset, in the company of children and fishermen. It is Havana’s outdoor lounge.
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Planetarium of Havana
Discover the Planetarium of Havana in Cuba and let it take you on a journey through time and space! The Planetario de La Habana (Planetarium of Havana) is a must-visit place in Cuba. It was built in 2009 with the help of the Japanese government and is located in Calle Mercaderes, near the Plaza Vieja Square in Havana. The Planetarium has exhibitions including a scale model of the Solar System inside a huge sphere, a Big Bang simulation, and a theater where it is possible to see more than 6,000 stars. The Planetarium has several telescopes, a projector that can lock onto more than 6,500 stars, a library of astronomy, a theater, interactive games, and a staff made up of physicists and astronomers.
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Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle in Old Havana, Cuba, one of Cuba’s most ancient castles. It is a great sample of military architecture during the Spain's rule over the Caribbean. It is located in the Plaza de Armas Square in Old Havana facing the sea. The Castle, as well as the rest of the old city’s fortifications, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is the oldest fortress still preserved in all the Americas. It was built between 1558 and 1577, in the same location where a fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1555. The west tower is crowned by the copy of a well-known bronze weathervane called La Giraldilla. The original was made in Havana in 1630 and is quite similar to the Giralda of Seville.
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Bay of Pigs
The name Bay of Pigs immediately brings to mind the failed invasion by a US-backed army of counter-revolutionaries that happened here in 1961. Nowadays however, it is a destination that is increasing in popularity for tourists for its natural beauty, birding and variety of wildlife, and as a place where excellent diving and snorkelling can be done from the shore. The waters are warm, clear, calm, and brimming with sea life. Back from the shoreline is some dense forest much of which is protect in national parks. There are some interesting excursions that can be done through these forests with local park guides, to caves and natural swimming holes.
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Abel Santamaria Historic Park
Abel Santamaría Historic Park is compounded by the museum, a library and a monument in the place in which you will find the ruins of the Former Saturnino Lora Civil Hospital. The building was built by the end of the 19th century with Neoclassic style and was taken by 23 young men under the command of Abel Santamaría due to its strategic location in relation to the Cuartel Moncada Headquarters in 1953. The museum of the enclosure which binds together all this buildings was opened in 1973 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the assault to the Cuartel Moncada Headquarters, and exhibits the history related to the famous assault and the trial of Fidel Castro. The monument opened in 1979 in memory of Abel Santamaría and his colleagues who were tortured and murdered after the failed raising. It has four faces in which there is a sphinx of José Martí, another of Abel Santamaría, six bayonets symbolizing justice; the solitary star and a verse of the National Anthem. The water curtain which seems to support the compound symbolizes the ideals of the young men of the Centenary Generation. The Municipal Library includes the complex, it has a general room dedicated to Literature, a young-children room, a library extension department and another of technical processes.
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El Capitolio
El Capitolio, or the National Capitol Building is one of the most visited sites in Havana. This majestic construction, located in the Centro Habana, is similar to that in Washington D.C, but a meter higher, a meter wider, and a meter longer, as well as much more rich in detail. It was started to be built by Gerardo Machado in 1926 supported by North America. Formerly, it was used as headquarters of the Cuban Congress, but since 1959 it has hosted the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Science and Technology National Library. The entrance is sheltered by 6 huge Doric columns, on top of a 55 steps granite staircase. In both sides on top of the stairs there are two amazing sculptures in bronze, a masculine and a feminine one, both 6,70 meters high, by the Italian Angelo Zanelli. When you cross them you’ll arrive to the Hall of Lost Steps, named in this way due to its wonderful acoustics, and in which center is the Republic statue, a huge woman in bronze 14,60 meters high and more than 30 tons weight, representing the virtue of the nation and work.
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Playa Jibacoa
Playa Jibacoa area, mostly chosen by Cubans, is located on the north coast of Mayabeque. It has resorts and several camping sites of good quality. The area is notable for the beautiful typical landscape with a deep blue sea, surrounded by cliffs, on the side facing the land, and rocky hills where are located the hotels. The excellent beaches are famous for their clear and shallow water and is a local and tourist favourite for snorkeling from the beach. It is worth noting the scuba diving area opposite the shore, where you'll find coral reefs and a good amount of fish and shellfish. There is a wide range of activities to practice in the area, from small hiking to horseback riding or it may be good to rent paddle boats