Known as La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), the beautiful centre of the capital of Cuba is its heart and soul, limited by the remains of the large 16th century walls that protected the city. This place has a lot of historic significance attached to it. Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, the city eventually gained notoriety for its strategic location in the “New World”.
Due to the cosmopolitan nature of its inhabitants through history, Old Havana is a reflection of a mixture of architectural styles and the testimony of different eras: Spanish, British, French and Americans. The city built the largest maritime facilities of the Americas, which also needed proportional defensive military buildings.
The city evolved around the dockyard, with the construction of magnificent plazas (squares) surronded by buildings of major architectural significance. Old Havana and its Fortification System was put on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1982 for being the Caribbean Islands’ more important historical city center. The ongoing restoration works were harmed by a hurricane in 2008.
Old Havana is one of the busiest tourist areas in Havana due to the restoration of churches, fortresses and other historical buildings. There are also many bookstores, museums, shops, craft fairs and artistic performances to entertain the tourists in the prettiest and most active area of the Cuban capital.