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The old cars of Havana

 

36. TOP ATTRACTIONS IN CUBA

 

November 12, 2013 Last October, I was able to visit and explore my 36th land, Cuba. In addition to that, visiting this country was actually listed on my bucket list so it was double the fullfillment when I first stepped foot on the Cuban soil. There are not too many countries left like Cuba, being a communist land, and from my own experience, I saw that people wanted change and I am hopeful that it will soon come to this land.

 

I stayed four nights in Havana and really made the most of it. Here are some of the top attractions (in no particular order) which I have personally visited in case you would be travelling to this interesting country in the near future.

The Stock Exchange: Inaugurated in March 1909, this building has 6 floors divided into 74 modules which can be redesigned into sub-modules.

The Mambi Railway Car, also known as the presidential car, is presently a museum that still has the original chinaware. Definitely worth a visit.

The Havana Cathedral had its interior modified in the neoclassical style from 1802 to 1832. Christopher Colombus remains allegedly were brought here from Hispaniola in 1796 and were kept in the Cathedral until 1898.

Castillo de la real Fuerza (The Castle of the Royal Force) was constructed after the destruction of the Old Force in 1555.

Plaza Vieja Beer and Malt Microbrewery: Here you can sample different types of beer and malt brewed on the premise with Austrian technology.

Bacardi Building (Edificio Bacardi) was the country's tallest structure at the time of its inauguration.

The Capitol, inaugurated on May 20th 1929, marks the 0 kilometer of Cuba's highway system. This building looks pretty much like the one in Washington DC.

Partagas Cigar Factory is to place to be if you are looking for some Cuban cigars to take home with you.

San Carlos de La Cabana Fortress can be reached by taking a boat to Casablanca. I have to say it was not a very comfortable experience taking the boat but it was worth it once you reach the other side.

Los Tres Reyes del Morro Castle was built between 1589 and 1630 as part of the country's defensive system.

The Christ of Havana is definitely the one you shouldn't miss here in Casablanca. I haven't seen the statue of the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro yet so I can not really compare the two but I know that the one in Brazil is really popular.

Church of the Christ, where I happened to hear the Sunday mass last October 27, 2013 is also worth a visit. The interior is very simple with signs showing that it was indeed built in the 17th Century.

Convent of St. Francis of Assisi is the main attraction in the San Francisco Square. To get to the tower, you have to pay a few dollars. I think it was worth it specially if you want to have a nice view of the city.

Fountain of the Lions: this lies in the heart of San Francisco Square and it's hard to be missed. Made from Carrara white marble, this is the work of Italian Giuseppe Gaggini from 1836.

Victor Hugo House: During our visit, there was an ongoing road construction in the area (O' Reilly St.) where this house is located but we still managed to reach to place. Worth a visit if you want to find reproduction of the famous French writer's death mask, as well as other documents of great patrimonial value.

Embarcadero (The Jetty): The picture says it all and it is sad because I actually saw young students taking the very old and not so safe vessel to reach Casa Blanca where we were headed to see the Christ of Havana.

Fountain of Neptune: Imported from Italy, the fountain had the objective of supplying fresh water to three ships at the same time.

Our Lady of Kazan Sacred Russian Orthodox Cathedral: a perfect example of traditional Russian architecture, you can easily visit this place after coming back from your trip to Casa Blanca (as we did) as it is located close to the jetty.

Museum of the Revolution and Granna Memorial: The cupola was under construction (as with most of the buildings here) but this is definitely worth visiting specially if you are in the El Prado area.

The Streets of Old Havana: You don't have to go further to see how Cubans enjoy their life. We only stayed four nights here and there was never a day we didn't hear the joyful music, entertainment and parades in the street. This is definitely Havana!

Enjoying your own Mojito: a cocktail that consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. No wonder it was the favorite drink of author Ernest Hemingway!

 

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