Destination guide: Havana, Cuba
Havana is the capital of Cuba, an island located between the Atlantic and the Caribbean, near the shores of Mexico and the United States. This tourist destination was declared a World Heritage Site due to the fact that it has preserved, among other things, its beautiful architecture and a culture rich in traditions.
Traveling through Havana, you can visit the Main Square, the National Capital building, the Cigar Museum, the Embankment, the National Aquarium and an endless number of places where you can try exquisite Cuban cuisine.
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‘Anything is possible in Havana,’ wrote British novelist Graham Greene of Cuba’s rhapsodic capital, echoing the thoughts and dreams of millions. Prophetically, he wasn’t far wrong. Truly one of the world’s great urban centers, this ebullient Caribbean metropolis is a riotous mélange of noble monuments and hip-gyrating music that has few cultural equals.
Yet, scarred by its past and flummoxed by one of the worst economic fallouts of modern times, , at the proverbial heart of Cuba’s great paradox, seductive beauty sidles up to spectacular decay, as life carries on precariously and capriciously, but always passionately.
For most visitors, the jewel in Havana’s ruptured crown is Habana Vieja, a fascinating work-in-progress that has taken one of Spain’s most beguiling colonial centers and rehabilitated it after years of poverty and neglect. Winking on the sidelines, a statuesque cluster of historical movers and shakers look down in granite and bronze: heroes and villains, colonizers and independence fighters, sugar merchants and mambo kings, hustlers and dreamers.
Enamored Habaneros love their city and it’s not difficult to see why. This is the metropolis that inspired Lorca and enchanted Hemingway, a place where Winston Churchill wistfully concluded that he could quite happily ‘leave his bones.’ But while the setting is mesmerizing and the history like pungent cigar smoke drifting through the louvers, the city is far more than just a museum to rogues and revolutionaries. At least half of Havana’s attraction is visceral. You’ll fall in love here, but you’ll struggle to ever understand why. The city is an impenetrable muse, the ultimate ‘riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma.’ Hit the streets and let it work its magic.
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