Havana
Overview
 


Havana is the capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

, province
Provinces of Cuba
Administratively, Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and one special municipality not included in any province. The last modification was approved in August 2010 , splitting Havana province into two new provinces: Artemisa and Mayabeque...

, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km² (281.2 sq mi) — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, and the most populous. The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay
Havana Harbor
Havana Harbor is the port of Havana, the capital of Cuba, and it is the main port in Cuba . Most vessels coming to the island make port in Havana...

, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia


Havana is the capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

, province
Provinces of Cuba
Administratively, Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and one special municipality not included in any province. The last modification was approved in August 2010 , splitting Havana province into two new provinces: Artemisa and Mayabeque...

, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km² (281.2 sq mi) — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, and the most populous. The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay
Havana Harbor
Havana Harbor is the port of Havana, the capital of Cuba, and it is the main port in Cuba . Most vessels coming to the island make port in Havana...

, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River
Almendares River
The Almendares River is a 45 km river in the western part of Cuba. It originates from the east of Tapaste and flows north-west into the Straits of Florida. The river acts as a water supply for Havana....

 traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida
Straits of Florida
The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait is a strait located south-southeast of the North American mainland, generally accepted to be between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Florida Keys and Cuba. The strait carries the Florida Current, the beginning of...

 a few miles west of the bay.

Havana was founded by the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 becoming a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 and the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

. King Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine
USS Maine (ACR-1)
USS Maine was the United States Navy's second commissioned pre-dreadnought battleship, although she was originally classified as an armored cruiser. She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt...

 in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

.

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana
Old Havana
Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

, Vedado
Vedado
Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

, and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban Government, and is home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses, 86 foreign embassies, and 8 consulates. The current mayor is Marta Hernández
Marta Hernández Romero
Marta Hernández Romero, born in Santiago de Cuba, is the current city mayor of Havana, Cuba, elected on March 5, 2011. She is the President of the People's Power Provincial Assembly of the City of Havana , diputada to the National Assembly, and a member of the Council of State in the VI Legislature...

 from the Communist Party of Cuba
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

 (PCC). In 2009, the city/province had the 3rd highest income in the country.

The city attracts over a million tourists annually, the Official Census for Havana reports that in 2010 the city was visited by 1,176,627 international tourists, a +20.0% increase from 2005. The historic centre
Old Havana
Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

 was declared a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 in 1982. Moreover, the city is noted for its history
History of Havana
The History of Havana begins when it was first visited by Europeans during Sebastián de Ocampo's circumnavigation of the island in 1509. Shortly thereafter, in 1510, the first Spanish colonists arrived from Hispaniola and began the conquest of Cuba....

, culture, architecture and monuments.

Etymology

The name Habana could be based upon the name of a local Taíno chief Habaguanex. An alternate theory is that Habana is derived from the Middle Dutch
Middle Dutch
Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic dialects which were spoken and written between 1150 and 1500...

 word havene, referring to a harbour.Appendix:Proto-Germanic/habnō

La Habana is translated when it refers to the city (Havana in Dutch, English, and Portuguese; La Havane in French; L'Avana in Italian; Havanna in German), but not when it refers to the province (present or former).

History

Conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.-Early life:...

 founded Havana on August 25, 1515 or 1514, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó
Batabanó, Cuba
Batabanó is a municipality and city in the Mayabeque Province of Cuba.The municipality is crossed by a number of small rivers, among them Río Guanabo, Río San Felipe, Río Pacheco, Río San Juan and Río Santa Gertrudis. A marina is located in the port of Batabano...

, or more likely on the banks of the Mayabeque River
Mayabeque River
Geolocation: Mayabeque River is a river of western Cuba, considered the largest in the southwestern watershed of Cuba, with an extensive fluvial network that encompasses the municipalities of Güines, San Jose de las Lajas, Jaruco Madruga and Melena del Sur...

 close to Playa Mayabeque
Playa Mayabeque
Playa Mayabeque is a location in the southern part of Mayabeque Province, within 15 kilometers of Melena del Sur on the southern shore of Cuba. The waters are muddy, to which local people attribute therapeutic properties...

. All attempts to found a city on Cuba's south coast failed, however an early map of Cuba drawn in 1514 places the town at the mouth of this river.

Between 1514 and 1519, the city had at least two different establishments on the north coast, one of them in La Chorrera, today in the neighborhood of Puentes Grandes
Puentes Grandes
Puentes Grandes is a neighborhood in the municipality of ??, Havana, in Cuba.The old neighborhood of Puentes Grandes had its origin at the end of the 16th century. It formed in one of the first neighborhoods that were established in the surroundings of Havana...

, next to the Almendares River
Almendares River
The Almendares River is a 45 km river in the western part of Cuba. It originates from the east of Tapaste and flows north-west into the Straits of Florida. The river acts as a water supply for Havana....

. The final city's location was adjacent to what was then called Puerto de Carenas (literally, "Careening
Careening
Careening a sailing vessel is the practice of beaching it at high tide. This is usually done in order to expose one side or another of the ship's hull for maintenance and repairs below the water line when the tide goes out....

 Bay"), in 1519. The quality of this natural bay, which now hosts Havana's harbor, warranted this change of location.

Havana was the sixth town founded by the Spanish on the island, called San Cristóbal de la Habana by Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

: the name combines San Cristóbal, patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Havana, and Habana, of obscure origin, possibly derived from Habaguanex, a native American chief who controlled that area, as mentioned by Diego Velásquez in his report to the king of Spain.
Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands. Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 organized his expedition to Mexico from the island.

Havana was originally a trading port, and suffered regular attacks by buccaneer
Buccaneer
The buccaneers were privateers who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century.The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate...

s, pirates
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

, and French corsairs. The first attack and resultant burning of the city was by the French corsair Jacques de Sores
Jacques de Sores
Jacques de Sores was a French pirate who attacked and burnt Havana, Cuba in 1555.Other than his attack on Havana, little is known of de Sores. He was nicknamed "The Exterminating Angel"...

 in 1555. Such attacks convinced the Spanish Crown to fund the construction of the first fortresses in the main cities — not only to counteract the pirates and corsairs, but also to exert more control over commerce with the West Indies, and to limit the extensive contrabando (black market) that had arisen due to the trade restrictions imposed by the Casa de Contratación
Casa de Contratación
La Casa de Contratación was a government agency under the Spanish Empire, existing from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which attempted to control all Spanish exploration and colonization...

 of Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 (the crown-controlled trading house that held a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on New World trade).

Ships from all over the New World carried products first to Havana, in order to be taken by the fleet to Spain. The thousands of ships gathered in the city's bay also fueled Havana's agriculture and manufacture, since they had to be supplied with food, water, and other products needed to traverse the ocean.

On December 20, 1592, King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City. Later on, the city would be officially designated as "Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies" by the Spanish crown. In the meantime, efforts to build or improve the defensive infrastructures of the city continued.
Havana expanded greatly in the 17th century. New buildings were constructed from the most abundant materials of the island, mainly wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, combining various Iberian
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 characteristics.

In 1649 a fatal epidemic brought from Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias , is a large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region and capital of Bolívar Department...

 in Colombia, affected a third of the population of Havana. By the middle of the 18th century Havana had more than seventy thousand inhabitants, and was the third-largest city in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, ranking behind Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

 and Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 but ahead of Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 and New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

The city was captured by the British
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 during the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

. The episode began on June 6, 1762, when at dawn, a British fleet, comprising more than 50 ships and a combined force of over 11,000 men of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and Army, sailed into Cuban waters and made an amphibious landing east of Havana. The British immediately opened up trade with their North American
North American
North American generally refers to an entity, people, group, or attribute of North America, especially of the United States and Canada together.-Culture:*North American English, a collective term used to describe American English and Canadian English...

 and Caribbean colonies
British West Indies
The British West Indies was a term used to describe the islands in and around the Caribbean that were part of the British Empire The term was sometimes used to include British Honduras and British Guiana, even though these territories are not geographically part of the Caribbean...

, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

 was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War. The treaty gave Britain Florida
Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish territory of Florida, which formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire. Originally extending over what is now the southeastern United States, but with no defined boundaries, la Florida was a component of...

 in exchange for the city of Havana on the recommendation of the French, who advised that declining the offer could result in Spain losing Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and much of the South American mainland to the British.

After regaining the city, the Spanish transformed Havana into the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. Construction began on what was to become the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña
La Cabaña
The Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña , is an 18th-century fortress complex, the biggest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba...

, the biggest Spanish fortification in the New World. On January 15, 1796, the remains of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 were transported to the island from Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

. They rested here until 1898, when they were transferred to Seville's Cathedral
Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See , better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville . It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world....

, after Spain's loss of Cuba.

As trade between Caribbean and North American states increased in the early 19th century, Havana became a flourishing and fashionable city. Havana's theaters featured the most distinguished actors of the age, and prosperity amongst the burgeoning middle-class led to expensive new classical mansions being erected. During this period Havana became known as the Paris of the Antilles
Antilles
The Antilles islands form the greater part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles are divided into two major groups: the "Greater Antilles" to the north and west, including the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico; and the smaller "Lesser Antilles" on the...

.

In 1837, the first railroad was constructed, a 51 km stretch between Havana and Bejucal
Bejucal
For the Maya archaeological site in Guatemala see Bejucal Bejucal is a municipality and city in the Mayabeque Province of Cuba. It borders to the north Boyeros; to the east with San José de las Lajas; to the south with Quivicán; and on the west with San Antonio de los Baños. It was founded in 1874...

, which was used for transporting sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 from the valley of Guinness to the harbor. With this, Cuba became the fifth country in the world to have a railroad, and the first Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

-speaking country. Throughout the century, Havana was enriched by the construction of additional cultural facilities, such as the Tacon Teatre
Great Theatre of Havana
The Great Theatre of Havana is located in the Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba. It is located in a building known as the Palace of the Galician Centre which served as a place of social reunion for the Galician immigrants in Havana...

, one of the most luxurious in the world. The fact that slavery was legal in Cuba until 1886 led to Southern American interest, including a plan by the Knights of the Golden Circle
Knights of the Golden Circle
The Knights of the Golden Circle was a secret society. Some researchers believe the objective of the KGC was to prepare the way for annexation of a golden circle of territories in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for inclusion in the United States as slave states...

 to create a 'Golden Circle' with a 1200 mile-radius centered on Havana. After the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 were defeated in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 in 1865, many former slaveholders continued to run plantations by moving to Havana.

In 1863, the city walls were knocked down so that the metropolis
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

 could be enlarged. At the end of the 19th century, Havana witnessed the final moments of Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

Republican period and Post-revolution

The 20th century began with Havana, and therefore Cuba, under occupation by the United States.

During the Republican Period, from 1902 to 1959, the city saw a new era of development. Cuba recovered from the devastation of war to become a well-off country, with the third largest middle class in the hemisphere, and Havana, the Capital of the country, became known as the "Paris of the Caribbean". Apartment buildings to accommodate the new middle class, as well as mansions for the Cuban tycoons, were built at a fast pace. Numerous luxury hotels, casinos and nightclubs were constructed during the 1930s to serve Havana's burgeoning tourist industry. In the thirties, organized crime characters were not unaware of Havana's nightclub and casino life, and they made their inroads in the city. Santo Trafficante, Jr.
Santo Trafficante, Jr.
Santo Trafficante, Jr. was one of the last of the old-time Mafia bosses in the United States. He allegedly controlled organized criminal operations in Florida and Cuba, which had previously been consolidated from several rival gangs by his father, Santo Trafficante, Sr...

 took the roulette wheel at the Sans Souci Casino, Meyer Lansky
Meyer Lansky
Meyer Lansky , known as the "Mob's Accountant", was a Polish-born American organized crime figure who, along with his associate Charles "Lucky" Luciano, was instrumental in the development of the "National Crime Syndicate" in the United States...

 directed the Hotel Habana Riviera
Hotel Habana Riviera
The Hotel Habana Riviera, or Havana Rivera as it is otherwise known, is located on the Malecón waterfront boulevard in Havana, Cuba. The hotel has over 350 rooms.- History :The hotel was owned and operated by Riviera de Cuba S.A...

, with Lucky Luciano
Lucky Luciano
Charlie "Lucky" Luciano was an Italian mobster born in Sicily. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime families and the establishment of the first commission...

 at the Hotel Nacional
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. It was designed by the famous New York firm McKim, Mead and White and features an eclectic mix of architectural styles...

 Casino. At the time, Havana became an exotic capital of appeal and numerous activities ranging from marinas, grand prix car racing, musical shows and parks.

Havana achieved the title of being the Latin American city with the biggest middle class population per-capita, simultaneously accompanied by gambling and corruption where gangsters and stars were known to mix socially. During this era, Havana was generally producing more revenue than Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

. In 1958, about 300,000 American tourists visited the city.

After the revolution of 1959, the new regime promised to improve social services, public housing, and official buildings; nevertheless, shortages that affected Cuba after Castro's abrupt expropriation of all private property and industry under a strong communist model backed by the Soviet Union followed by the U.S. embargo
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

, hit Havana especially hard. By 1966-68, the Cuban government had nationalized all privately owned business entities in Cuba, down to "certain kinds of small retail forms of commerce" (law No. 1076).

There was a severe economic downturn after the collapse of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 in 1991. With it, subsidies ended, losing billions of dollars which the Soviet Union gave the Cuban government, with many believing Havana's soviet-backed regime would soon vanish, as happened to the Soviet satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. However, contrary to the soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, Havana's communist regime prevailed during the 1990s.

After many years of prohibition, the communist government increasingly turned to tourism for new financial revenue, and has allowed foreign investors to build new hotels and develop hospitality industry. In Old Havana, effort has also gone into rebuilding for tourist purposes, and a number of streets and squares have been rehabilitated. But Old Havana is a large city, and the restoration efforts concentrate in all but less than 10% of its area.

Geography

Havana lies on the northern coast of Cuba, south of the Florida Keys
Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry...

, where the Gulf of Mexico joins the Caribbean (map at right). The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.

The low hills on which the city lies rise gently from the deep blue waters of the straits. A noteworthy elevation is the 200-foot-high (60-metre) limestone ridge that slopes up from the east and culminates in the heights of La Cabaña
La Cabaña
The Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña , is an 18th-century fortress complex, the biggest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba...

 and El Morro, the sites of colonial fortifications overlooking the eastern bay. Another notable rise is the hill to the west that is occupied by the University of Havana
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas...

 and the Prince's Castle. Outside the city, higher hills rise on the west and east.

Climate

Havana, like much of Cuba, enjoys a pleasant year-round tropical climate
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

 that is tempered by the island's position in the belt of the trade winds and by the warm offshore currents. Under the Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

, Havana has a tropical savanna climate
Tropical savanna climate
Tropical savanna climate or tropical wet and dry climate is a type of climate that corresponds to the Köppen climate classification categories "Aw" and '"As."...

. Average temperatures range from 72 °F (22.2 °C) in January and February to 82 °F (27.8 °C) in August. The temperature seldom drops below 50 °F (10 °C). The lowest temperature was 33 °F (0.555555555559977 °C) in Santiago de Las Vegas, Boyeros. The lowest recorded temperature in Cuba was 32 °F (0 °C) in Bainoa, Havana province. Rainfall is heaviest in June and October and lightest from December through April, averaging 46 inches (1,168.4 mm) annually. Hurricanes occasionally strike the island, but they ordinarily hit the south coast, and damage in Havana has been less than elsewhere in the country.

The table below lists temperature averages throughout the year:

Cityscape

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana
Old Havana
Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana, with its narrow streets and overhanging balconies, is the traditional centre of part of Havana's commerce, industry, and entertainment, as well as being a residential area.

To the north and west a newer section, centred on the uptown area known as Vedado, has become the rival of Old Havana for commercial activity and nightlife. Centro Habana
Centro Habana, Cuba
Centro Habana is one of the 15 municipalities in the city of Havana, Cuba. There are a lot of retail spaces Centro Habana is one of the 15 municipalities (municipios in Spanish) in the city of Havana, Cuba. There are a lot of retail spaces Centro Habana is one of the 15 municipalities...

, sometimes described as part of Vedado, is mainly a shopping district that lies between Vedado and Old Havana. The Capitolio Nacional building marks the beginning of Centro Habana, a working class neighborhood. Chinatown and the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás
Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás
The Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás is a cigar factory museum in Havana, Cuba. The world famous Habanos cigars are produced in this factory. Across the street from the massive Capitol building in Havana, is one of Cuba's oldest cigar factories. The Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas is housed in a...

, one of Cuba's oldest cigar factories is located in the area.

A third Havana is that of the more affluent residential and industrial districts that spread out mostly to the west. Among these is Marianao
Marianao
Marianao is a town and municipality in the province of the city of Havana, Cuba, 6 miles southwest of the original city of Havana, with which it is connected by the Marianao railway. , the municipality had a population of 133,016. Marianao is on a range of hills about 1500 ft. above sea level,...

, one of the newer parts of the city, dating mainly from the 1920s. Some of the suburban exclusivity was lost after the revolution, many of the suburban homes having been nationalized by the Cuban government to serve as schools, hospitals, and government offices. Several private country clubs were converted to public recreational centres. Miramar, located west of Vedado along the coast, remains Havana's exclusive area; mansions, foreign embassies, diplomatic residences, upscale shops, and facilities for wealthy foreigners are common in the area. The International School of Havana
International School of Havana
The International School of Havana is an international school in Havana, Cuba located in the exclusive neighborhood of Miramar.-History:It was founded in 1965 by Phyllis Powers, a British expatriate, to educate the children of diplomatic missions' staff...

 is located in the Miramar neighborhood.

In the 1980s many parts of Old Havana
Old Havana
Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

, including the Plaza de Armas, became part of a projected 35-year multimillion-dollar restoration project, for Cubans to appreciate their past and boost tourism. In the past ten years, with the assistance of foreign aid and under the support of local city historian Eusebio Leal Spengler, large parts of Habana Vieja have been renovated. The city is moving forward with their renovations, with most of the major plazas (Plaza Vieja, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza de Armas) and major tourist streets (Obispo and Mercaderes) near completion.

Districts

The city is divided into 15 municipalities – or boroughs, which are further subdivided into 105 wards  (consejos populares). (Numbers refer to map).

  1. Playa
    Playa, Havana
    Playa is one of the 15 municipalities of the City of Havana, Cuba. It is the most north-western of them. It stretches from the Almendares River in the east, to Santa Fe in the west. On the north is the sea. The word "playa" means "beach" in Spanish....

    : Santa Fé, Siboney, Cubanacán, Ampliación Almendares, Miramar, Sierra, Ceiba, Buena Vista.
  2. Plaza de la Revolución
    Plaza de la Revolucion
    Plaza de la Revolución is a municipality and a square in Havana, Cuba.The municipality stretches from the square down to the sea at the Malecón and includes the Vedado district.- Square :...

     : El Carmelo, Vedado-Malecón, Rampa, Príncipe, Plaza, Nuevo Vedado-Puentes Grandes, Colón-Nuevo Vedado, Vedado
    Vedado
    Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

    .
  3. Centro Habana: Cayo Hueso, Pueblo Nuevo, Los Sitios, Dragones, Colon.
  4. La Habana Vieja
    Old Havana
    Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

     : Prado, Catedral, Plaza Vieja
    Plaza Vieja, Havana
    The Old Square is a plaza located in Old Havana, Cuba. The plaza and its surroundings are also one of the seven consejos populares of the municipality of Old Havana. It has a residential population of 17,426....

    , Belén, San Isidro, Jesús Maria, Tallapiedra.
  5. Regla : Guacanimar, Loma Modelo, Casablanca
    Casablanca, Havana
    Casablanca is a neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, in the municipality of Regla. It is situated to the east of the entrance to Havana Harbor. In 1762, the year of the capture of Havana by the English, a suburb of this name already existed...

    .
  6. La Habana del Este : Camilo Cienfuegos, Cojimar
    Cojimar
    Cojimar is a small fishing village east of Havana. It was the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. It was also the location where during the 1940s an enormous Great white shark was caught, which is one of the contenders for the largest specimen of all time...

    , Guiteras, Alturas de Alamar
    Alamar
    Alamar is a district in east part of the city of La Habana in Cuba. This district is constituted with prefabrication construction in the sovietic architectural style.- Hip-Hop Scene :...

    , Alamar-Este
    Alamar
    Alamar is a district in east part of the city of La Habana in Cuba. This district is constituted with prefabrication construction in the sovietic architectural style.- Hip-Hop Scene :...

    , Guanabo
    Guanabo
    Guanabo is a town in the Ciudad de la Habana Province of Cuba. It is located within the municipality of Habana del Este halfway between the centre of Havana and Santa Cruz del Norte, at the mouth of the Guanabo River, between the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Sierra del Canchón .Guanabo is a seaside...

    , Campo Florido, Alamar-Playa
    Alamar
    Alamar is a district in east part of the city of La Habana in Cuba. This district is constituted with prefabrication construction in the sovietic architectural style.- Hip-Hop Scene :...

    .
  7. Guanabacoa : Mañana-Habana Nueva, Villa I, Villa II, Chivas-Roble, Debeche-Nalon, Hata-Naranjo, Peñalver-Bacuranao, Minas-Barreras.
  8. San Miguel del Padrón
    San Miguel del Padrón
    San Miguel del Padrón is a municipality in Havana city, Cuba. It is one of the 15 municipalities into which the city is divided. It is on Havana's south-eastern outskirts, stretching from Ciudad Mar to Diezmero and from Reparto Mañana to Caballo Blanco....

    : Rocafort, Luyanó Moderno, Diezmero, San Francisco de Paula, Dolores-Veracruz, Jacomino.
  9. Diez de Octubre  : Luyanó, Jesús del Monte, Lawton, Vista Alegre, Acosta, Sevillano, Vibora, Santos Suárez, Tamarindo.
  10. Cerro: Latinoamericano, Pilar-Atares, Cerro, Las Cañas, El Canal, Palatino, Armada.
  11. Marianao
    Marianao
    Marianao is a town and municipality in the province of the city of Havana, Cuba, 6 miles southwest of the original city of Havana, with which it is connected by the Marianao railway. , the municipality had a population of 133,016. Marianao is on a range of hills about 1500 ft. above sea level,...

     : CAI-Los Ángeles, Pocito-Palmas, Zamora-Cocosolo, Libertad, Pogoloti-Belén-Finlay, Sta Felicia.
  12. La Lisa
    La Lisa, Cuba
    La Lisa is one of the 15 municipalities in the city of Havana, Cuba.It has several neighbourhoods such as Alturas de la Lisa, El Cano, Punta Brava, San Agustin etcIt can be generally thought of as a semi-rural municipality....

     : Alturas de La Lisa, Balcón Arimao, Cano-Bello26-Valle Grande, Punta Brava, Arroyo Arenas, San Agustín, Versalles Coronela.
  13. Boyeros
    Boyeros
    Boyeros is one of the 15 municipalities or boroughs in the city of Havana, Cuba.The municipality was created in 1976, and amalgamated the town of Santiago de Las Vegas. It lies on the south-west side of the city and extends towards the José Martí International Airport.-Demographics:In 2004, the...

    : Santiago de Las Vegas
    Santiago de Las Vegas
    Santiago de las Vegas is a city in Havana Province, Cuba, located south of Havana. As of the year 2000, the population was 22,000. The Cuban government maintains an agricultural experiment station, as well as a meteorology center in the city.-History:...

    , Nuevo Santiago, Boyeros, Wajay, Calabazar, Altahabana-Capdevila, Armada-Aldabo.
  14. Arroyo Naranjo
    Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba
    Arroyo Naranjo is one of the 15 municipalities in the city of Havana, Cuba. It became part of Havana city while the capital grew.-History:The borough was founded in 1845, and by 1848 its party was created...

    : Los Pinos, Poey, Víbora Park, Mantilla, Párraga, Calvario-Fraternidad, Guinera, Eléctrico, Managua, Callejas.
  15. El Cotorro: San Pedro-Centro Cotorro, Santa Maria del Rosario, Lotería, Cuatro Caminos, Magdalena-Torriente, Alberro.

Architecture

Due to Havana's almost five hundred year existence
History of Havana
The History of Havana begins when it was first visited by Europeans during Sebastián de Ocampo's circumnavigation of the island in 1509. Shortly thereafter, in 1510, the first Spanish colonists arrived from Hispaniola and began the conquest of Cuba....

, the city boasts some of the most diverse styles of architecture in the world. From castles built in the late 16th century to modernist present-day high-rises.
Neoclassical
Neoclassism
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 was introduced into the city in the 1840s, at the time including Gas public lighting in 1848 and the railroad in 1837. In the second half of the 18th century, sugar and coffee production increased rapidly, which became essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style. Many wealthy Habaneros took their inspiration from the French; this can be seen within the interiors of upper class houses such as the Aldama Palace built in 1844. This is considered the most important neoclassical residential building in Cuba and typifies the design of many houses of this period with portales of neoclassical columns facing open spaces or courtyards.

In 1925 Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier
Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier
Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier was a French landscape architect, trained with Alphand and became conservateur of the promenades of Paris. He developed an arboretum at Vincennes and the gardens of the Champ-de-Mars below the Eifel Tower...

, the head of urban planning in Paris moved to Havana for five years to collaborate with architects and landscape designers. In the master planning of the city his aim was to create a harmonic balance between the classical built form and the tropical landscape. He embraced and connected the city's road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks. His influence has left a huge mark on Havana although many of his ideas were cut short by the great depression in 1929
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. During the first decades of the 20th century Havana expanded more rapidly than at any time during its history. Great wealth prompted architectural styles to be influenced from abroad. The peak of Neoclassicism came with the construction of the Vedado district
Vedado
Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

 (begun in 1859). This whole neighbourhood is littered with set back well-proportioned buildings.

Colonial and Baroque
Riches were brought from the colonialists into and through Havana as it was a key transshipment
Transshipment
Transshipment or Transhipment is the shipment of goods or containers to an intermediate destination, and then from there to yet another destination....

 point between the new world
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 and old world
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

. As a result Havana was the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. Most examples of early architecture can be seen in military fortifications such as La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana
La Cabaña
The Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña , is an 18th-century fortress complex, the biggest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba...

 (1558–1577) designed by Battista Antonelli and the Castillo del Morro
Morro Castle (fortress)
Morro Castle is a picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana, Euta. Juan Bautista Antonelli, an Italian engineer, was commissioned to design the structure. When it was built in 1589, Euta was under the control of Germany...

 (1589–1630). This sits at the entrance of Havana Bay
Havana Harbor
Havana Harbor is the port of Havana, the capital of Cuba, and it is the main port in Cuba . Most vessels coming to the island make port in Havana...

 and provides an insight into the supremacy and wealth at that time.

Old Havana was also protected by a defensive wall begun in 1674 but had already overgrown its boundaries when it was completed in 1767, becoming the new neighbourhood of Centro Habana. The influence from different styles and cultures can be seen in Havana's colonial architecture, with a diverse range of Moorish architecture
Moorish architecture
Moorish architecture is the western term used to describe the articulated Berber-Islamic architecture of North Africa and Al-Andalus.-Characteristic elements:...

, Spanish
Spanish architecture
Spanish architecture refers to architecture carried out in any area in what is now modern-day Spain, and by Spanish architects worldwide. The term includes buildings within the current geographical limits of Spain before this name was given to those territories...

, Italian
Architecture of Italy
Architecture of Italy, often called Italian architecture refers to all forms of this art in Italy. Italy has a very broad and diverse architectural style, which cannot be simply classified by period, but also by region, due to Italy's division into several city-states until 1861. However, this has...

, Greek and Roman
Roman architecture
Ancient Roman architecture adopted certain aspects of Ancient Greek architecture, creating a new architectural style. The Romans were indebted to their Etruscan neighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics...

. The San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary
San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary
San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary is a seminary in Havana, Cuba.This building was erected by the Jesuits in the mid 18th century to house a seminary first founded in 1689. After the Jesuits were expelled in 1767, it was known as the St. Ambrose Seminary and in 1774 it was opened under the name...

 (18th century) is a good example of early Spanish influenced architecture. The Havana cathedral (1748–1777) dominating the Plaza de la Catedral (1749) is the best example of Cuban Baroque. Surrounding it are the former palaces of the Count de Casa-Bayona (1720–1746) Marquis de Arcos (1746) and the Marquis de Aguas Claras (1751–1775).

Art Deco and Eclectic
The first echoes of the Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 movement in Havana started in 1927, in the residential area of Miramar. The Edificio Bacardi
Bacardi
Bacardi is a family-controlled spirits company, best known as a producer of rums, including Bacardi Superior and Bacardi 151. The company sells in excess of 200 million bottles per year in nearly 100 countries...

 (1930) is thought to be the best example of Art-deco architecture in the city and first tall Art Deco building as well, followed by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. It was designed by the famous New York firm McKim, Mead and White and features an eclectic mix of architectural styles...

 (1930) and The Lopez Serrano building built in 1932 by Ricardo Mira inspired by the Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering between 48th and 51st streets in New York City, United States. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It was declared a National...

 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The year 1928 marked the beginning of the reaction against the Spanish Renaissance style architecture, Art Deco started in the lush and wealthy suburbs of Miramar, Marianao
Marianao
Marianao is a town and municipality in the province of the city of Havana, Cuba, 6 miles southwest of the original city of Havana, with which it is connected by the Marianao railway. , the municipality had a population of 133,016. Marianao is on a range of hills about 1500 ft. above sea level,...

, and Vedado
Vedado
Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

.

The city's eclectic architectural sights begins in Centro Habana. The Central Railway Terminal
Havana Central railway station
Havana Central , is the main railway terminal in Havana and the largest railway station in Cuba, is the hub of the rail system in the country. Today, the Central Station serves for the arrival and departure of national and divisional commuter trains, and is home to the national railway company,...

 (1912), and the Museum of the Revolution
Museum of the Revolution
The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana section of Havana, Cuba. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista...

 (1920) are example of Eclectic architecture
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

.

Modernism
Many high-rise office buildings, and apartment complexes, along with some hotels built in the 1950s dramatically altered the skyline. Modernism, therefore, transformed much of the city and should be noted for its individual buildings of high quality rather than its larger key buildings. Examples of the latter are Habana Libre (1958), which before the revolution was the Havana Hilton Hotel and La Rampa movie theater (1955).

Famous architects such as Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius
Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture....

, Richard Neutra
Richard Neutra
Richard Joseph Neutra is considered one of modernism's most important architects.- Biography :Neutra was born in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Vienna, Austria Hungary, on April 8, 1892. He was born into both-Jewish wealthy family...

 and Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho is a Brazilian architect specializing in international modern architecture...

 all passed through the city, while strong influences can be seen in Havana at this time from Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier , was a Swiss-born French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930...

 and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German architect. He is commonly referred to and addressed as Mies, his surname....

. The Edificio Focsa (1956) represents Havana's economic dominance at the time. This 35-story complex was conceived and based on Corbusian ideas of a self-contained city within a city. It contained 400 apartments, garages, a school, a supermarket, and restaurant on the top floor. This was the tallest concrete structure in the world at the time (using no steel frame) and the ultimate symbol of luxury and excess. The Havana Riviera
Hotel Habana Riviera
The Hotel Habana Riviera, or Havana Rivera as it is otherwise known, is located on the Malecón waterfront boulevard in Havana, Cuba. The hotel has over 350 rooms.- History :The hotel was owned and operated by Riviera de Cuba S.A...

 Hotel (1957) designed by Irving Feldman
Irving Feldman
Irving Feldman Irving Feldman Irving Feldman (born on 22 September 1928 in Brooklyn, New York is an American poet and professor of English.-Academic career:Born and raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Feldman worked as a merchant seaman, farm hand, and factory worker through his university education...

, a twenty-one-story edifice, when it opened, the Riviera was the largest purpose-built casino-hotel in Cuba or anywhere in the world, outside Las Vegas (the Havana Hilton (1958) surpassed its size a year later).

Landmarks and historical centres

  • Habana Vieja
    Old Havana
    Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

    : contains the core of the original city of Havana. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Plaza Vieja
    Plaza Vieja, Havana
    The Old Square is a plaza located in Old Havana, Cuba. The plaza and its surroundings are also one of the seven consejos populares of the municipality of Old Havana. It has a residential population of 17,426....

    : a plaza in Old Havana, it was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas.
  • Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña
    La Cabaña
    The Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña , is an 18th-century fortress complex, the biggest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba...

    , a fortress located on the east side of the Havana bay, La Cabaña is the most impressive fortress from colonial times, particularly its walls constructed at the end of the 18th century.
  • El Capitolio Nacional: built in 1929 as the Senate and House of Representatives, the colossal building is recognizable by its dome which dominates the city's skyline. Inside stands the third largest indoor statue in the world, La Estatua de la República. Nowadays, the Cuban Academy of Sciences
    Cuban Academy of Sciences
    The Academy of Sciences of Cuba , founded on May 19, 1861 with its headquarters in the National Capitol building in Havana, is Cuba's Academy of Sciences...

     headquarters and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (the National Museum of Natural History) has its venue within the building and contains the largest natural history collection in the country.
  • El Morro Fortress: is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay; Morro Castle was built because of the threat to the harbor from pirates.
  • San Salvador de la Punta Fortress
    San Salvador de la Punta Fortress
    San Salvador de la Punta Fortress is a fortress in the bay of Havana, Cuba.La Punta, just like El Morro was designed to protect the entrance to the Havana Bay that became an important and strategic entranceway to the harbor since the settlement of the town. The nonstop landings of corsairs in the...

    : a small fortress built in the 16th century, at the western entry point to the Havana harbour, it played a crucial role in the defence of Havana during the initial centuries of colonisation. It houses some twenty old guns and military antiques.
  • Cristo de La Habana
    Christ of Havana
    The Christ of Havana is a large sculpture representing Jesus of Nazareth on a hilltop overlooking the bay in Havana, Cuba. It is the work of the Cuban sculptor Jilma Madera ....

    : Havana's 20-meter (66 ft) marble statue of Christ (1958) blesses the city from the east hillside of the bay, much like the famous Cristo Redentor
    Christ the Redeemer (statue)
    Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is tall, including its pedestal, and wide. It weighs 635 tonnes , and is located at the peak of the Corcovado...

     in Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

    .
  • The Great Theatre of Havana
    Great Theatre of Havana
    The Great Theatre of Havana is located in the Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba. It is located in a building known as the Palace of the Galician Centre which served as a place of social reunion for the Galician immigrants in Havana...

    : is an opera house famous particularly for the National Ballet of Cuba, it sometimes hosts performances by the National Opera. The theater is also known as concert hall, García Lorca, the biggest in Cuba.
  • The Malecon/Sea wall
    Malecón, Havana
    The Malecón is a broad esplanade, roadway and seawall which stretches for 8 km along the coast in Havana, Cuba, from the mouth of Havana Harbor in Old Havana to Vedado.Construction of the Malecón began in 1901, during temporary U.S. military rule...

    : is the avenue that runs along the north coast of the city, beside the seawall
    Seawall
    A seawall is a form of coastal defence constructed where the sea, and associated coastal processes, impact directly upon the landforms of the coast. The purpose of a seawall is to protect areas of human habitation, conservation and leisure activities from the action of tides and waves...

    . The Malecón is the most popular avenue of Havana, it is known for its sunsets.
  • Hotel Nacional de Cuba
    Hotel Nacional de Cuba
    The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. It was designed by the famous New York firm McKim, Mead and White and features an eclectic mix of architectural styles...

    : an Art Deco
    Art Deco
    Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

     National Hotel famous in the 1950s as a gambling and entertainment complex.
  • Museo de la Revolución
    Museum of the Revolution
    The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana section of Havana, Cuba. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista...

    : located in the former Presidential Palace
    Presidential Palace
    A Presidential Palace is the official residence of the president in some countries. However, some countries do not call the official residence of a head of state a presidential palace...

    , with the yacht Granma
    Granma (yacht)
    Granma is the yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people...

     on display behind the museum.
  • Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón
    Colon Cemetery, Havana
    The Colon Cemetery or more fully in the Spanish language Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón was founded in 1876 in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana, Cuba on top of Espada Cemetery. Named for Christopher Columbus, the 140 acre cemetery is noted for its many elaborately sculpted memorials...

    : a cemetery and open air museum, it is one of the most famous cemeteries in Latin America, known for its beauty and magnificence. The cemetery was built in 1876 and has nearly one million tombs. Some gravestones are decorated with sculpture by Ramos Blancos, among others.

Culture

Havana, by far the leading cultural centre of the country, offers a wide variety of features that range from museums, palaces, public squares, avenues, churches, fortresses (including the largest fortified complex in the Americas dating from the 16th through 18th centuries), ballet and from art and musical festivals to exhibitions of technology. The restoration of Old Havana offered a number of new attractions, including a museum to house relics of the Cuban revolution. The government placed special emphasis on cultural activities, many of which are free or involve only a minimal charge.

Old Havana

Old Havana, (La Habana Vieja in Spanish), contains the core if the original city of Havana, with more than 2,000 hectares it exhibits almost all the Western architectural styles seen in the New World. La Habana Vieja was founded by the Spanish in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

. In the 17th century it was one of the main shipbuilding centers. The city was built in baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 and neoclassic style.

Many buildings have fallen in ruin but a number are being restored. The narrow streets of old Havana contain many buildings, accounting for perhaps as many as one-third of the approximately 3,000 buildings found in Old Havana.

Old Havana is the ancient city formed from the port, the official center and the Plaza de Armas. Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier y Valmont was a Cuban novelist, essayist, and musicologist who greatly influenced Latin American literature during its famous "boom" period. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Carpentier grew up in Havana, Cuba; and despite his European birthplace, Carpentier strongly self-identified...

 called Old Havana the place "de las columnas" (of the columns). The Cuban government is taking many steps to preserve and to restore Old Havana, through the Office of the city historian, directed by Eusebio Leal
Eusebio Leal
Eusebio Leal Spengler, , is the Havana City Historian, director of the restoration program of Old Havana and its historical center, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Deputy to the National Assembly of the Popular Power in the IV, V and I SAW Legislature, Ambassador of Good Will of the United Nations,...

. Old Havana and its fortifications were added to the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage List
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 in 1982.

Chinatown

The city's Chinatown (Barrio Chino), once Latin America's largest and most vibrant Chinatown incorporated into the city by the early part of the 20th century when hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers were brought in by Spanish settlers from from Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

, Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 via Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 starting in the mid-19th century and the following decades to replace and / or work alongside African slaves. After completing 8-year contracts, many Chinese immigrants settled permanently in Havana.

The first 206 Chinese-born to arrived in Havana was on June 3, 1847. The Chinatown neighborhood was booming with Chinese restaurants, laundries, banks, pharmacies, theaters and several Chinese-language newspapers, the neighborhood comprised 44 square blocks during its prime. The heart of Havana's Chinatown is on el Cuchillo de Zanja (or The Zanja Canal). The strip is a pedestrian-only street adorned with many red lanterns, dancing red paper dragons and other Chinese cultural designs, there is a great number of restaurants that serve a full spectrum of Chinese dishes – unfortunately that 'spectrum' is said by many not to be related to real Chinese cuisine.

The Chinatown district has two paifang
Paifang
Paifang, also called pailou, is a traditional Chinese architectural gating style as an archway.The word paifang originally was a collective term used to describe the top two levels of administrative division and subdivisions of ancient Chinese city. The largest division within a city in ancient...

, a large one located on Calle Dragones, the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 donated the materials in the late 1990s, it has a well defined written welcoming sign in Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and Spanish. The smaller arch is located on Zanja strip. The Cuban's Chinese boom ended when Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution seized private businesses, sending tens of thousands of business-minded Chinese fleeing, mainly to the United States. Descendants are now making efforts to preserve and revive the culture.

Visual arts

The National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) is a Fine Arts museum that exhibits Cuban and International art collections. The museum houses one of the largest collections of paintings and sculpture from Latin America and is the largest in the Caribbean region. Under the Cuban Ministry of Culture, it occupies two locations in the vicinity of Havana's Paseo del Prado, these are the Palace of Fine Arts, devoted to Cuban art and the Palace of the Asturian
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

 Center, dedicated to universal art. Its artistic heritage is made ​​up of over 45,000 pieces.

The Museum of the Revolution
Museum of the Revolution
The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana section of Havana, Cuba. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista...

 (Museo de la Revolución), designed in Havana by Cuban architect Carlos Maruri, and the Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 Paul Belau, who came up with an eclectic
Eclecticism in art
Eclecticism is a kind of mixed style in the fine arts: "the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them" . Significantly, Eclecticism hardly ever constituted a specific style in art: it is characterized by the fact that it was not a particular style...

 design, harmoniously combines Spanish, French and German architectural elements. The museum was the Presidential Palace
Presidential Palace
A Presidential Palace is the official residence of the president in some countries. However, some countries do not call the official residence of a head of state a presidential palace...

 in the capital; today, its displays and documents outline Cuba's history from the beginning of the neo-colonial period.

The neo-classical mansion of the Countess of Revilla de Camargo, today it is the Museum of Decorative Arts
Havana Museum of Decorative Arts
The Museum of Decorative Arts , in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba is a decorative arts museum in the former residence of the Maria Luisa Gomez Mena viuda de Cagiga, Countess of Revilla de Camargo, sister of Jose Gomez Mena, the owner of the Manzana de Gomez. It was it was designed in Paris...

 (Museo de Artes Decorativas), known as the "small French Palace of Havana" built between 1924 and 1927, it was designed in Paris inspired in French Renaissance
French Renaissance
French Renaissance is a recent term used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in France from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern Italy in the fourteenth century...

. The museum has been exhibiting more than 33,000 works dating from the reigns of Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon III; as well as 16th to 20th century Oriental pieces, among many other treasures. The Museum has ten permanent exhibit halls. Among them are prominent porcelain articles from the factories in Sèvres
Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
The manufacture nationale de Sèvres is a Frit porcelain porcelain tendre factory at Sèvres, France. Formerly a royal, then an imperial factory, the facility is now run by the Ministry of Culture.-Brief history:...

 and Chantilly
Chantilly porcelain
Chantilly porcelain is French soft-paste porcelain produced between 1730 and 1800 by the manufactory of Chantilly in Oise, France.-Foundation:...

, France; Meissen
Meissen
Meissen is a town of approximately 30,000 about northwest of Dresden on both banks of the Elbe river in the Free State of Saxony, in eastern Germany. Meissen is the home of Meissen porcelain, the Albrechtsburg castle, the Gothic Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche...

, Germany; and Wedgwood
Wedgwood
Wedgwood, strictly speaking Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, is a pottery firm owned by KPS Capital Partners, a private equity company based in New York City, USA. Wedgwood was founded on May 1, 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood and in 1987 merged with Waterford Crystal to create Waterford Wedgwood, an...

, England, as well as Chinese from the Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...

 period and Japanese from the Imari. The furniture comes from Stéphane Boudin
Stéphane Boudin
Stéphane Boudin was a French interior designer and a president of Maison Jansen, the influential Paris-based interior decorating firm.Boudin is best known for being asked by U.S...

, Jean Henri Riesener
Jean Henri Riesener
Jean-Henri Riesener was the French royal ébéniste, working in Paris, whose work exemplified the early neoclassical Louis XVI style"....

 and several others.

Several museums in Old Havana houses furniture, silverware, pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, glass and other items from the colonial period. One of these is the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales is the former official residence of the governors of Havana, Cuba. Located on the eastern side of the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana it is home to the Museum of the City of Havana...

, where Spanish governors once lived. The Casa de Africa presents another aspect of Cuba's history, it houses a large collection of Afro-Cuban
Afro-Cuban
The term Afro-Cuban refers to Cubans of Sub Saharan African ancestry, and to historical or cultural elements in Cuba thought to emanate from this community...

 religious artifacts.

Other museums in the icty includes Casa de los Árabes (House of Arabs) and the Casa de Asia (House of Asia) with Middle
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Far Eastern collections. Havana's Museo del Automobil has an impressive collection of vehicles dating back to a 1905 Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

.

While most museums of Havana are situated in Old Havana, few of them can also be found in Vedado
Vedado
Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

. In total, Havana has around 50 museums, including the National Museum of Music; the Museum of Dance and Rum; the Cigar Museum; the Napoleonic, Colonial and Oricha Museums; the Museum of Anthropology; the Ernest Hemingway Museum; the José Martí Monument; the Aircraft Museum (Museo del Aire
Museo del Aire (Cuba)
The Museo del Aire was a national aviation museum located in the south-western suburbs of Havana, Cuba. Until August 2010, the Museum address was: Museo del Aire, Avenida 212, entre la avenida 29 y 31, La Coronela, La Lisa...

).

There are also museums of Natural Sciences, the City, Archeology, Gold-and-Silverwork, Perfume, Pharmaceuticals, Sports, Numismatics, and Weapons.

Performing arts

Facing Havana's Central Park is the baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

  Great Theatre of Havana
Great Theatre of Havana
The Great Theatre of Havana is located in the Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba. It is located in a building known as the Palace of the Galician Centre which served as a place of social reunion for the Galician immigrants in Havana...

, a prominent theatre built in 1837. It is now home of the National Ballet of Cuba and the International Ballet Festival of Havana
International Ballet Festival of Havana
The International Ballet Festival of Havana , is a ballet festival held in the Great Theater of Havana, Cuba every two years...

, one of the oldest in the New World. The façade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 of the building is adorned with a stone and marble statue. There are also sculptural pieces by Giuseppe Moretti
Giuseppe Moretti
Giuseppe Moretti was an Italian émigré sculptor who became known in America for his public monuments in bronze and marble. Most notable among his works is Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama, which is the largest cast iron statue in the world...

, representing allegories depicting benevolence, education, music and theatre. The principal theatre is the García Lorca Auditorium, with seats for 1,500 and balconies. Glories of its rich history; the Italian tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

 Enrico Caruso sang, the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova
Anna Pavlova (dancer)
Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th century. She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev...

 danced, and the French Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt was a French stage and early film actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress the world has ever known". Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas...

 acted.

Other important theatres in the city includes the National Theater of Cuba
National Theater of Cuba
The National Theater of Cuba is a theater in Havana, Cuba, establish September 3, 1979, with a function of gala for the delegations assistants to the VI Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement celebrated in Havana in that year...

, housed in a huge modern building located in Plaza de la Revolucion
Plaza de la Revolucion
Plaza de la Revolución is a municipality and a square in Havana, Cuba.The municipality stretches from the square down to the sea at the Malecón and includes the Vedado district.- Square :...

, decorated with works by Cuban artists. The National Theater includes two main theatre stages, the Avellaneda Auditorium and the Covarrubias Auditorium, as well as a smaller theatre workshop space on the ninth floor.

The Karl Marx Theater
Karl Marx Theater
The Karl Marx Theater is a theater in Havana, Cuba, formerly known as the Teatro Blanquita, and renamed after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the venue has an enormous auditorium with seating capacity of 5500 people, and is generally used for big shows by stars from Cuba and abroad...

 with its large auditorium have a seating capacity
Seating capacity
Seating capacity refers to the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, both in terms of the physical space available, and in terms of limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats...

 of 5,500 spectators, is generally used for concerts and other events, it is also one of the venues for the annual Havana Film Festival
Havana Film Festival
The Havana Film Festival is a Cuban festival that focuses on the promotion of Spanish-language filmmakers. It is also known in Spanish as Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana, and in English as Festival of New Latinamerican Cinema of La Havana.The festival takes place...

.

Festivals

  • Havana Film Festival
    Havana Film Festival
    The Havana Film Festival is a Cuban festival that focuses on the promotion of Spanish-language filmmakers. It is also known in Spanish as Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana, and in English as Festival of New Latinamerican Cinema of La Havana.The festival takes place...

     (The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema)
  • International Ballet Festival of Havana
    International Ballet Festival of Havana
    The International Ballet Festival of Havana , is a ballet festival held in the Great Theater of Havana, Cuba every two years...

  • Havana International Jazz Festival

Industry

Havana has a diversified economy, with traditional sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, transportation and communications, and new or revived ones such as biotechnology and tourism.

The city's economy first developed on the basis of its location, which made it one of the early great trade centres in the New World. Sugar and a flourishing slave trade first brought riches to the city, and later, after independence, it became a renowned resort. Despite efforts by Fidel Castro's government to spread Cuba's industrial activity to all parts of the island, Havana remains the centre of much of the nation's industry.

The traditional sugar industry, upon which the island's economy has been based for three centuries, is centred elsewhere on the island and controls some three-fourths of the export economy. But light manufacturing facilities, meat-packing plants, and chemical and pharmaceutical operations are concentrated in Havana. Other food-processing industries are also important, along with shipbuilding, vehicle manufacturing, production of alcoholic beverages (particularly rum), textiles, and tobacco products, particularly the world-famous Habanos cigars. Although the harbours of Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of Cienfuegos Province. It is located about from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed La Perla del Sur...

 and Matanzas
Matanzas
Matanzas is the capital of the Cuban province of Matanzas. It is famed for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore.It is located on the northern shore of the island of Cuba, on the Bay of Matanzas , east of the capital Havana and west of the resort town of Varadero.Matanzas is called the...

, in particular, have been developed under the revolutionary government, Havana remains Cuba's primary port facility; 50% of Cuban imports and exports pass through Havana. The port also supports a considerable fishing industry.

In 2000, nearly 89% of the city's officially recorded labour force worked for government-run agencies, institutions or enterprises. Havana, on average, has the country's highest incomes and human development indicators. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba re-emphasized tourism as a major industry leading to its recovery. Tourism is now Havana and Cuba's primary economic source.

Tourism

The city has long been a popular attraction for tourists
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

. Between 1915 and 1930, Havana hosted more tourists than any other location in the Caribbean. The influx was due in large part to Cuba's proximity to the United States
Cuba-United States relations
Cuba and the United States of America have had an interest in one another since well before either of their independence movements. Plans for purchase of Cuba from the Spanish Empire were put forward at various times by United States...

, where restrictive prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 on alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 and other pastimes stood in stark contrast to the island's traditionally relaxed attitude to leisure pursuits.

It was tourism's association to the world of gambling and prostitution during the Republic Period which made the revolutionary government established in 1959 approach the entire sector as a social evil to be eradicated. Many bars and gambling venues were closed down following the revolution and a government body, the National Institute of the Tourism Industry, took over many facilities (traditionally available to wealthy) to make them accessible to the general public.

With the deterioration of Cuba – United States relations and the imposition of the trade embargo
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

 on the island in 1961, tourism dropped drastically and did not return to anything close to its pre-revolution levels until 1989. The revolutionary government in general, and Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 in particular, initially opposed any considerable development of the tourism industry, linking the sphere to the debauchery and criminal activities of times past. In the late 1970s, however, Castro changed his stance and, in 1982, the Cuban government passed a foreign investment code which opened a number of sectors, tourism included, to foreign capital.

Through the creation of firms open to such foreign investment (such as Cubanacan), Cuba began to attract capital for hotel development, managing to increase the number of tourists from 130,000 (in 1980) to 326,000 (by the end of that decade).

Havana has also been a popular health tourism destination for more than 20 years. Foreign patients travel to Cuba, Havana in particular, for a wide range of treatments including eye-surgery, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms...

 and Parkinsons disease, and orthopaedics. Many patients are from Latin America, although medical treatment for retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of genetic eye conditions that leads to incurable blindness. In the progression of symptoms for RP, night blindness generally precedes tunnel vision by years or even decades. Many people with RP do not become legally blind until their 40s or 50s and retain some...

, often known as night blindness, has attracted many patients from Europe and North America.

Commerce and finance

After the Revolution, Cuba's traditional capitalist free-enterprise system was replaced by a heavily socialized economic system. In Havana, Cuban-owned businesses and U.S.-owned businesses were nationalized and today most businesses operate solely under state control.

In Old Havana and throughout Vedado there are several small private businesses, such as shoe-repair shops or dressmaking facilities. Banking as well is also under state control, and the National Bank of Cuba, headquartered in Havana, is the control center of the Cuban economy. Its branches in some cases occupy buildings that were in pre-revolutionary times the offices of Cuban or foreign banks.

In the late 1990s Vedado, located along the Caribbean waterfront, started to represent the principal commercial area. It was developed extensively between 1930 and 1960, when Havana developed as a major destination for U.S. tourists; high-rise hotels, casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s, restaurants, and upscale commercial establishments, many reflecting the art deco style.

Vedado is today Havana's financial district, the main banks, airline companies offices, shops, most businesses headquarters, numerous high-rise apartments and hotels, are located in the area. The University of Havana is located in Vedado.

Demographics

By the end of 2009, 19.1% of the population of Cuba lived in Havana. According to the census of 2009, the population was 2,141,993 (6,139 less from the previous year), including 1,032,687 men and 1,109,306 women. The city has an average life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 of 76.81 years at birth. In 2009, there were 1,924 people living with HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

/AIDS in the city, 78.9% of these are men, and 21.1% being women.

According to the 1981 Havana's official race census (the Cuban census and similar studies use the term "skin colour" instead of "race"),
  • White: 63.4%, (many of Galician
    Galician people
    The Galicians are an ethnic group, a nationality whose historical homeland is Galicia in north-western Spain. Most Galicians are bilingual, speaking both their historic language, Galician, and Castilian Spanish.-Political and administrative divisions:...

     and Canarian
    Canarian people
    The Canarians are an ethnic group living in the archipelago of the Canary Islands , near the coast of Western Africa...

     ancestry)
  • Afro-Cuban
    Afro-Cuban
    The term Afro-Cuban refers to Cubans of Sub Saharan African ancestry, and to historical or cultural elements in Cuba thought to emanate from this community...

    : 16.4%, (whose ancestors were slaves)
  • mulatto
    Mulatto
    Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

     (mixed-race): 20.4%
  • Asian
    Chinese Cuban
    A Chinese Cuban is a Cuban of Chinese ancestry who was born in or has immigrated to Cuba. They are part of the ethnic Chinese diaspora .-History:...

    : 0.2% (reflecting immigration from China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries)


There are few mestizos contrary to many other Latin American countries, because the Native Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 population was virtually wiped out in colonial times.

Havana agglomeration grew rapidly during the first half of the XX century reaching 1 million inhabitants in the 1943 census. The con-urbanization expanded over the Havana municipality borders into neighbor municipalities of Marianao, Regla and Guanabacoa. Starting from the 1980's, the city's population is growing slowly as a result of balanced development policies, low birth rate, its relatively high rate of emigration abroad, and controlled domestic migration. Because of the city and country's low birth rate and high life expectancy, its age structure is similar to a developed country, with Havana having an even higher proportion of elderly than the country as a whole.

The Cuban government controls the movement of people into Havana on the grounds that the Havana metropolitan area (home to nearly 20% of the country's population) is overstretched in terms of land use, water, electricity, transportation, and other elements of the urban infrastructure. There is a population of internal migrants to Havana nicknamed "palestinos" (Palestinians), sometimes considered a racist term, these mostly hail from the eastern region of Oriente.

The city's significant minority of Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

, mostly Cantonese
Cantonese people
The Cantonese people are Han people whose ancestral homes are in Guangdong, China. The term "Cantonese people" would then be synonymous with the Bun Dei sub-ethnic group, and is sometimes known as Gwong Fu Jan for this narrower definition...

 ancestors, were brought in the mid-19th century by Spanish settlers via the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 with work contracts and after completing 8-year contracts many Chinese immigrants settled permanently in Havana. Before the revolution the Chinese population counted to over 200,000, today, Chinese ancestors could count up to 100,000. Chinese born/ native Chinese (mostly Cantonese as well) are around 400 presently. There are some 3,000 Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 living in the city, as reported by the Russian Embassy in Havana, they're mostly women that married Cubans who had gone to the Soviet Union to study. Havana also shelters other non-Cuban population of an unknown size. There is a population of several thousand North African teen and pre-teen refugees.

Religion

Roman Catholics form the largest religious group in Havana.

The Jewish community in Havana has reduced after the Revolution from once having embraced more than 15,000 Jews, many of whom had fled Nazi persecution and subsequently left Cuba to Miami or returned to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 after Castro took to power in 1959. The city once had five synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s, but only three remain (one Orthodox
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

, one Conservative and one Sephardic), Beth Shalom Grand Synagogue is one of them. In February 2007 the New York Times estimated that there were about 1,500 known Jews living in Havana.

Poverty and slums

Housing Units and Population of Havana Slums
Housing type Year Units Population % of Total Pop.
cuartería(a) 2001 60,754 206,564 9.4
slum
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

s/ ghetto
2001 21,552 72,986 3.3
shelters
Refugee shelter
Refugee shelters include the most basic kind of structure created in the aftermath of a conflict or natural disaster as a temporary residence for victims who have lost or abandoned their homes. There is a continuum ranging from the most temporary tent accommodation through transitional shelter to...

 
1997 2,758 9,178 0.4
(a)A cuartería (or ciudadela, solar) is a large inner-city old mansion or hotel or
boarding house subdivided into rooms, sometimes with over 60 families.

The years after the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 collapsed in 1991, the city, and Cuba in general have suffered decades of economic deterioration. The national government does not have an official definition of poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

. The government researchers argue that "poverty" in most commonly accepted meanings does not really exist in Cuba, but rather that there is a sector of the population that can be described as "at risk" or "vulnerable" using internationally accepted measures.

The generic term "slum
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

" is seldom used in Cuba, substandard housing is described: housing type, housing conditions, building materials, and settlement type. The National Housing Institute considers units in solares (a large inner-city mansion or older hotel or boarding house subdivided into rooms, sometimes with over 60 families) and shanty towns to be the "precarious housing stock" and tracks their number. Most slum units are concentrated in the inner-city municipalities of Old Havana
Old Havana
Old Havana contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana....

 and Centro Habana, as well as such neighbourhoods as Atarés in Regla. People living in slums have access to the same education, health care, job opportunities and social security as those who live in formerly privileged neighbourhoods. Shanty towns are scattered throughout the city except for in a few central areas.

Over 9% of Havana's population live in cuartería (solares, ciudadela), 3.3% in shanty towns, and 0.3% in refugee shelters. This does not include an estimate of the number of people living in housing in "fair" or "poor" condition because in many cases these units do not necessarily constitute slum housing but rather are basically sound dwellings needing repairs. According to Instituto Nacional de Vivienda (National Housing Institute) official figures, in 2001, 64% of Havana's 586,768 units were considered in "good" condition, up from 50% in 1990. Some 20% were in "fair" condition and 16% in "poor" condition. Partial or total building collapses are not uncommon, although the number had been cut in half by the end of the 1990s as the worst units disappeared and others were repaired. Buildings in Old Havana and Centro Habana are especially exposed to the elements: high humidity, the corrosive effects of salt spray from proximity to the coast, and occasional flooding.

Transportation

During the Republic Period, the city was renowned for an adequate network of public transportation by bus, tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

s and taxi. A subway system modeled after that of New York City was proposed in 1921.

In the 1980s there were also plans for a Metro system
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 in Havana similar to Moscow
Moscow Metro
The Moscow Metro is a rapid transit system serving Moscow and the neighbouring town of Krasnogorsk. Opened in 1935 with one line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2011, the Moscow Metro has 182 stations and its route length is . The system is...

's, as a result of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 influence in Cuba at the time. The studies of geology and finance made ​​by Cuban and Soviet specialists were already well advanced in the 1980s. The Cuban press showed the construction project and the course route, linking municipalities and neighborhoods in the capital. In the late 1980s the project had already began, each mile of track was worth a million dollars at the time, but with the fall of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 in 1991 the project was later dropped.

Air
Havana is served by José Martí International Airport
José Martí International Airport
José Martí International Airport , sometimes known by its former name Rancho-Boyeros Airport, is located southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is a hub for Cubana de Aviación, Aerogaviota and Aero Caribbean, and former Latin American hub for Aeroflot Soviet Airlines...

. The Airport lies about 11 kilometres (7 mi) south of the city center, and is the main hub of Cubana de Aviación
Cubana de Aviación
Cubana de Aviación S.A., commonly known as Cubana, is Cuba's largest airline and flag carrier. The airline was founded on 8 October 1929, and has its corporate headquarters in Havana. Its main base is at José Martí International Airport...

. The airport is Cuba's main international and domestic getaway. The city is also served by Playa Baracoa Airport
Playa Baracoa Airport
Playa Baracoa Airport is a regional airport west of Havana, Cuba that serves regional flights in Cuba.-Playa Baracoa Air Base:The airport is an inactive Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces air base and home to Air Defense Command and VIP transport:...

 which is small airport to the west of city used for some domestic flights, primarily Aerogaviota
Aerogaviota
Aerogaviota is an airline based in Havana, Cuba. It operates domestic passenger charters for the national tourist authority. Its main base is Playa Baracoa Airport, Havana-History:...

.

Rail
Havana has a network of suburban, interurban and long-distance rail lines, the only one in the Caribbean region. The railways are nationalised and run by the UFC (Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Ferrocarriles de Cuba
Ferrocarriles de Cuba or Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Cuba , the only railway operating in the Caribbean islands, provides passenger and freight services for Cuba.-Route Network:...

 – Union for Railways of Cuba).

Rail service connects Havana from the Central Rail Station, La Coubre Rail Station and Casablanca Station
Casablanca, Havana
Casablanca is a neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, in the municipality of Regla. It is situated to the east of the entrance to Havana Harbor. In 1762, the year of the capture of Havana by the English, a suburb of this name already existed...

  to various Cuban provinces
Provinces of Cuba
Administratively, Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and one special municipality not included in any province. The last modification was approved in August 2010 , splitting Havana province into two new provinces: Artemisa and Mayabeque...

. In 2004 the annual passenger volume was some 11 million, but demand is estimated at two-and-a-half to three times this value, with the busiest route being between Havana and Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

, some 836 kilometres (519.5 mi) apart by rail. In 2000 the Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba bought French first class airconditioned coaches.

Bus
The city's public buses are carried out by two divisions, Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM) and Metrobus.

The Metrobus serves the inner-city urban area, with a maximum distance of 20 km (12 mi). Its fleet have been modernized, but formerly in 2006 were known as "camellos" (camels). The camellos operated on the busiest routes and were trailers transformed into buses known as camels, so called for their two humps. The Metrobus consists of 17 main lines, identified with the letter "P" with long-distance routes. The stops are usually 800–1000 m (2,624.7–3,280.8 ft), with frequent buses in peak hours, about every 10 minutes. It uses large modern articulated buses, such as the Chinese-made Yutong brand, Russian-made Liaz, or MAZ of Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

.

The Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM), known as the Metrobus feeder line, connects the adjacent towns and cities in the metropolitan area with the city center, with a maximum distance of 40 km (25 mi). This division has one of the most used and largest urban bus
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 fleets in the country, its fleet is made up of mostly new Chinese Yutong buses, but as well older Busscar
Busscar
Busscar Ônibus S.A. is a Brazilian bus manufacturer that builds coaches, trolleybuses, charter and tour buses. The company is based in Joinville in the south of Brazil, where it has industrial premises that cover 1,000,000 m2, including a building of 84,000 m2.-History:The business has its origins...

 buses. In 2008 the Cuban government invested millions of dollars for the acquisition of 1,500 new Yutong urban buses.

Administration

Havana is administered by a city-provincial council, with a mayor as chief administrative officer. Thus, Havana functions as both a city and a province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

, the city has little autonomy and dependent upon the national government, particularly, for much of its budgetary and overall political direction.

The current mayor of the city (President of the People's Power Provincial Assembly) is Marta Hernández Romero
Marta Hernández Romero
Marta Hernández Romero, born in Santiago de Cuba, is the current city mayor of Havana, Cuba, elected on March 5, 2011. She is the President of the People's Power Provincial Assembly of the City of Havana , diputada to the National Assembly, and a member of the Council of State in the VI Legislature...

, she was elected on March 5, 2011.

The national government is headquartered in Havana and plays an extremely visible role in the city's life. Moreover, the all-embracing authority of many national institutions has led to a declining role for the city government, which, nevertheless, still provides much of the essential services and has competences in education, health care, city public transport, garbage collection, small industry, agriculture, etc.

Voters elect delegates to Municipal Assemblies in competitive elections. There is only one political party, the Communist Party
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

, but since there must be a minimum of two candidates, members of the Communist Party often run against each other. Candidates are not required to be members of the party. They are nominated directly by citizens in open meetings within each election district. Municipal Assembly delegates in turn elect members of the Provincial Assembly, which in Havana serves roughly as the City Council; its president functions as the Mayor. There are direct elections for deputies to the National Assembly based on slates, and a portion of the candidates is nominated at the local level. The People's Councils (Consejos Populares) consist of local municipal delegates who elect a full-time representative to preside over the body. In addition, there is participation from "mass organisations" and representatives of local government agencies, industries and services. The 105 People's Councils in Havana cover an average of 20,000 residents.

Havana city borders are contiguous with the Mayabeque Province
Mayabeque Province
Mayabeque Province is one of two new provinces in Cuba, which creation was approved by the Cuban National Assembly by splitting former La Habana province....

 on the south and east and to Artemisa Province
Artemisa Province
Artemisa Province is one of two new provinces in Cuba, which creation was approved by the Cuban National Assembly by splitting former La Habana Province.Artemisa was the largest city and municipality of the former La Habana province...

 on the west, since former La Habana Province
La Habana Province
Havana Province was one of the provinces of Cuba, prior to being divided into two new provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque on January 1, 2011. It had 711,066 people in the 2002 census. The largest city was Artemisa .-Geography:...

 (rural) was abolished in 2010.

Infrastructure

Education

The national government assumes all responsibility for education, and there are adequate primary, secondary, and vocational training schools throughout Havana. The schools are of varying quality and education is free and compulsory at all levels except higher learning, which is also free.

The University of Havana
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas...

, located in the Vedado
Vedado
Vedado is the downtown and a vibrant neighboorhood in the city of Havana, Cuba. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar/Playa district. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as 'La Rampa'...

 section of Havana, was established in 1728 and was regarded as a leading institution of higher learning in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. Soon after the Revolution, the university, as well as all other educational institutions, were nationalized. Since then several other universities have opened, like the Polytechnic José Antonio Echeverría
Polytechnic José Antonio Echeverría
The Polytechnic University José Antonio Echeverría" is an undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral research university located in Havana, Cuba.-History:The Cujae was founded in 1964 as a spin-off from the Faculty of Technology of the University of Havana...

 where the vast majority of today's Cuban engineers are formed.

The Cuban National Ballet School
Cuban National Ballet School
The Cuban National Ballet School in Havana, with 4,350 students is the biggest ballet school in the world and the most prestigious ballet school in Cuba, directed by Ramona de Sáa...

 with 4,350 students is the biggest ballet school in the world and the most prestigious ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 school in Cuba.

Health

All Havana residents have free access to health care in hospitals, local polyclinics, and neighbourhood family doctors who serve on average 170 families each, which is one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratio in the world. However, the health system has suffered from shortages of supplies, equipment and medications caused by ending of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 subsidies in the early 1990s and the US embargo
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

.
• R Garfield and S Santana. Columbia University, School of Nursing, New York; "The impact of the economic crisis and the US embargo on health in Cuba" "this embargo has raised the cost of medical supplies and food Rationing, universal access to primary health services"

• American Association for World Health; Online. American Association for World Health Report. March 1997. Accessed 6 October 2006. Supplementary source : American Public Health Association website "After a year-long investigation, the American Association for World Health has determined that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens."

• Felipe Eduardo Sixto; An evaluation of Four decades of Cuban Healthcare.

"The lack of supplies accompanied by a deterioration of basic infrastructure (potable water and sanitation) resulted in a setback of many of the previous accomplishments. The strengthening of the U.S. embargo contributed to these problems."

• Pan American Health organization; Health Situation Analysis and Trends Summary Regional Core Health Data System - Country Profile: CUBA
"The two determining factors underlying the crisis are well known. One is the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc, and the other is the economic embargo the Government of the United States."

• Harvard Public Health; Review/Summer 2002 : The Cuban Paradox "Because its access to traditional sources of financing is seriously hindered by the sanctions, which until recently included all food and medicine, Cuba has received little foreign and humanitarian aid to maintain the vitality of its national programs"

The Lancet
The Lancet
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world's best known, oldest, and most respected general medical journals...

 medical journal; Role of USA in shortage of food and medicine. "The resultant lack of food and medicines to Cuba contributed to the worst epidemic of neurological disease this century." Nevertheless, Havana's infant mortality rate in 2009 was 4.9 per 1,000 live births, 5.12 in the country as a whole, which is lower than many developed nations
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

, and the lowest in the developing world
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

. Administration of the health care system for the nation is centred largely in Havana. Hospitals in Havana are run by the national government, and citizens are assigned hospitals and clinics to which they may go for attention.

Services

Utility services are under the control of several nationalized state enterprises that have developed since the Cuban revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

. Water, electricity, and sewage service are administered in this fashion. Electricity is supplied by generators that are fueled with oil. Much of the original power plant installations, which operated before the Revolutionary government assumed control, have become somewhat outdated. Electrical blackouts occurred, prompting the national government in 1986 to allocate the equivalent of $25,000,000 to modernize the electrical system.

Sports

Many Cubans are avid sports fans who particularly favour baseball. Havana's teams in the Cuban National Series
Cuban National Series
The Cuban National Series is the primary domestic amateur baseball competition in Cuba. Formed after the dissolution of the Cuban League in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, the Series is a part of the Cuban national baseball system.-League structure:...

 are Industriales
Industriales
Industriales is a baseball team in the Cuban National Series. One of the two teams based in the city of Havana, Industriales is historically the most successful team in the National Series, the main domestic competition in post-revolutionary Cuban baseball...

 and Metropolitanos
Metropolitanos
The Metropolitanos of Havana was a baseball team in the Cuban National Series. The Metros, also known as the Guerreros , has historically been a poor team, though it is ostensibly the heir to the Habana teams of the pre-revolutionary Cuban League....

. The city has several large sports stadiums, the largest one is the Estadio Latinoamericano
Estadio Latinoamericano
The Estadio Latinoamericano is a stadium in Havana, Cuba. It is primarily used for baseball. Gran Stadium, a spacious pitchers' park with prevailing winds blowing in and boasting a playing surface and lighting system of major-league quality, was built in 1946 as the top baseball park in Latin...

. Admission to sporting events is generally free, and impromptu games are played in neighborhoods throughout the city. Social clubs at the beaches provide facilities for water sports and include restaurants and dance halls.
  • Havana was host to the 11th Pan American Games in 1991
    1991 Pan American Games
    The 11th Pan American Games were held in Havana, Cuba from August 2 to August 18, 1991. There were a total number of 4,519 athletes from 39 countries of the PASO community, with events held in 32 different sports...

    . Stadiums and facilities for this were built in the relatively unpopulated eastern suburbs.
  • Havana was host to the 1992 IAAF World Cup in Athletics.
  • Havana was a candidate to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games
    2012 Summer Olympics
    The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

    , but was not shortlisted.

Notable people born in Havana

See also :Category:People from Havana (category)

(Selected)
  • Felipe Poey
    Felipe Poey
    -Biography:Poey was born in Havana, the son of French and Spanish parents. He spent several years of his life in Pau then studied law in Madrid. He became a lawyer in Spain but was forced to leave due to his liberal ideas, returning to Cuba in 1823. He began to concentrate on the study of the...

    , zoologist (1799–1891)
  • José Martí
    José Martí
    José Julián Martí Pérez was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban...

    , poet, writer, nationalist leader (1853–1895)
  • José Raúl Capablanca, former World Chess Champion (1888–1942)
  • Ernesto Lecuona
    Ernesto Lecuona
    Ernesto Lecuona y Casado was a Cuban composer and pianist of Canarian father and Cuban mother, and worldwide fame. He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional quality....

    , composer, performer (1895–1963)
  • Dulce María Loynaz
    Dulce María Loynaz
    Daughter of the famous General Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, a hero of the Cuban Liberation Army and author of Cuban National Anthem lyrics; and sister of poet Enrique Loynaz Muñoz...

    , author (1902–1997)
  • Alejo Carpentier
    Alejo Carpentier
    Alejo Carpentier y Valmont was a Cuban novelist, essayist, and musicologist who greatly influenced Latin American literature during its famous "boom" period. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Carpentier grew up in Havana, Cuba; and despite his European birthplace, Carpentier strongly self-identified...

    , author (1904–1980)
  • José Lezama Lima
    José Lezama Lima
    José Lezama Lima was a Cuban writer and poet who is considered one of the most influential figures in Latin American literature....

    , poet and author (1910–1976)
  • Cundo Bermúdez
    Cundo Bermúdez
    Cundo Bermúdez , born Secundino Bermúdez y Delgado, was a Cuban painter. Born in Havana, Cuba, he died of a heart attack in his Westchester home on October 30, 2008....

    , painter (1914–2008)
  • Ivan Moffat
    Ivan Moffat
    Ivan Moffat was a British screenwriter and associate producer who, with Fred Guiol, was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay for adapting Edna Ferber's novel Giant into the film Giant....

     (1918–2002) screenwriter
    Screenwriter
    Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

  • Alicia Alonso
    Alicia Alonso
    Alicia Alonso Martínez is the Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer. Her company became the Ballet de Cuba in 1955....

    , Prima Ballerina Assoluta (1920–)
  • María Antonieta Pons
    María Antonieta Pons
    Maria Antonieta Pons was a Cuban born Mexican film actress and Rumba dancer.-Career:Born in Cuba in 1922, from Catalan origin, she was one of the most notorious rumba dancers of her times. She was discovered in Cuba by the Spanish film director Juan Orol. Emigrated to Mexico City to film Siboney...

    , actress, Rumba dancer (1922–2004)
  • Celia Cruz
    Celia Cruz
    Celia Cruz was a Cuban-American salsa singer, and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, having earned twenty-three gold albums...

    , singer (1925–2003)
  • Elena Burke
    Elena Burke
    Elena Burke was a revered and popular Cuban singer of boleros and romantic ballads....

    , singer (1928–2002)
  • Alberto Korda
    Alberto Korda
    Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, better known as Alberto Korda or simply Korda was a Cuban photographer, remembered for his famous image Guerrillero Heroico of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.-Early life:Korda, whose real name was Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, was born on 14 September 1928 in...

    , photographer, famous for his photo "Guerrillero Heróico" of Che Guevara (1928–2001)
  • Roberto Goizueta
    Roberto Goizueta
    Roberto Críspulo Goizueta was Chairman, Director, and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company from August 1980 until his death in October 1997....

    , Coca-Cola
    Coca-Cola
    Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

     Company CEO (1931–1997)
  • Camilo Cienfuegos
    Camilo Cienfuegos
    Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Lawton, Havana. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution, along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro.-Political...

    , revolutionary along with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara (1932–1959)
  • Ricardo Alarcón, politician, president of the National Assembly of Cuba (1937–)
  • Felix Baloy
    Felix Baloy
    Felix Baloy is a Cuban singer, sonero, and percussionist. He has a Havana urban accent. He has been a vocalist with many groups, including Chappotin y Sus Estrellas, Revé, and Adalberto Alvarez y su Son, and most recently, the Afro-Cuban All Stars...

    , vocalist with the Afro Cuban All Stars and others (1943-)
  • Cristina Saralegui
    Cristina Saralegui
    Cristina Saralegui is a Cuban American journalist, actress and talk show host of the Spanish-language eponymous show, Cristina. She also has her own fashion line of accessories and comforters for bed and bath....

    , journalist, talk show host (1948–)
  • Andy García
    Andy García
    Andrés Arturo García Menéndez , professionally known as Andy García, is a Cuban American actor. He became known in the late 1980s and 1990s, having appeared in several successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather: Part III, The Untouchables, Internal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman...

    , actor (1956–)
  • Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
    Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
    Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg is the spouse and Grand Duchess of Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.-Early life and education:...

    , grand ducal consort of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg (1956–)
  • Gloria Estefan
    Gloria Estefan
    Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan; known professionally as Gloria Estefan is a Cuban-born American singer, songwriter, and actress. Known as the "Queen Of Latin Pop", she is in the top 100 best selling music artists with over 100 million albums sold worldwide, 31.5 million of those...

    , singer (1957–) (emigrated to the U.S. as a child)
  • César Évora
    César Évora
    César Évora is a Cuban actor.- Biography :Évora started out his career in his native Cuba appearing in more than ten movies before moving to Mexico in the early 1990s. He became known for playing minor roles in the seminal Corazón salvaje and the long-running Agujetas de color de rosa in 1993 and...

    , actor (1959–)
  • Juan Contino Aslán
    Juan Contino Aslán
    Juan Contino Aslán was the city mayor of Havana, Cuba from 2003 until being discharged in February, 2011. He was the President of the People's Power Provincial Assembly of the City of Havana , a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, diputado to the National Assembly, and...

    , politician, former city mayor of Havana (1960–)
  • Felipe Pérez Roque
    Felipe Pérez Roque
    Felipe Ramón Pérez Roque was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba from 1999 to 2009. At his appointment, he was not only the youngest member of the Cuban cabinet but also the only one to be born after the Cuban Revolution in 1959.Pérez Roque was formerly an electronics engineer and leader of...

    , politician, former foreign minister of Cuba (1965-)
  • Pedro Álvarez Castelló
    Pedro Álvarez Castelló
    Pedro Reinaldo Álvarez Castelló was a Cuban artist who rose to prominence during Cuba's Special Period.-Biography:...

    , painter (1967–2004)
  • Rey Ruiz
    Rey Ruiz
    Rey Ruiz is a salsa singer from Cuba. Ruiz reached international fame across Latin America, Europe and among Hispanic music fans in the United States.-Biography:...

    , musician (1970–)
  • Yotuel Romero, musician (1976–)





Diplomatic Offices

Havana hosts 86 embassies, and in addition there are 11 consulates, 1 interest section and a trade office.

Embassies

  • Algeria
    Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

  • Angola
    Angola
    Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

  • Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

  • Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
    Barbados
    Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

  • Belarus
    Belarus
    Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

  • Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Belize
    Belize
    Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

  • Benin
    Benin
    Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

  • Bolivia
    Bolivia
    Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

  • Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

  • Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

  • Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

  • Cambodia
    Cambodia
    Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Cape Verde
    Cape Verde
    The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

  • Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

  • China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

  • Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...


  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

  • Czech Republic
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

  • Dominican Republic
    Dominican Republic
    The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

  • Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

  • Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

  • Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

  • France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Gambia
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Ghana
    Ghana
    Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

  • Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

  • Grenada
    Grenada
    Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

  • Guatemala
    Guatemala
    Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

  • Guinea
    Guinea
    Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

  • Guinea-Bissau
    Guinea-Bissau
    The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

  • Guyana
    Guyana
    Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

  • Haiti
    Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

  • Holy See
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

     - Vatican City
    Vatican City
    Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

  • Honduras
    Honduras
    Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

  • Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...


  • India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

  • Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

  • Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

  • Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

  • Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • Jamaica
    Jamaica
    Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

  • Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

  • North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

  • Laos
    Laos
    Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

  • Lebanon
    Lebanon
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

  • Libya
    Libya
    Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

  • Malaysia
  • Mali
    Mali
    Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

  • Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

  • Mongolia
    Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

  • Mozambique
    Mozambique
    Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

  • Namibia
    Namibia
    Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

  • Nicaragua
    Nicaragua
    Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

  • Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...


  • Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

  • Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

  • Paraguay
    Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

  • Peru
    Peru
    Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

  • Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

  • Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

  • Portugal
    Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

  • Qatar
    Qatar
    Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

  • Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

  • Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

  • Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

  • Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

  • South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

  • Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

  • Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

  • Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

  • Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

  • Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

  • Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

  • Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...


  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

  • Uruguay
    Uruguay
    Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

  • Venezuela
    Venezuela
    Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

  • Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

  • Yemen
    Yemen
    The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

  • Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...





Consulates
  • Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

  • Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

  • Cyprus
    Cyprus
    Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

  • Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

  • Dominica
    Dominica
    Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

  • Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

  • Monaco
    Monaco
    Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

  • Saint Lucia
    Saint Lucia
    Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...



Interest Section
  • United States of America


Trade Office
  • Armenia
    Armenia
    Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...



Twin towns — sister cities

Havana is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with:
Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 Cuzco, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 Esfahān, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 Leon, Guanajuato
León, Guanajuato
The city of León, formally León de los Aldama is the sixth most populous city in Mexico and the first in the state of Guanajuato. It is also the seat of the municipality of León...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...


Mobile
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

, United States
United States
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Mexico
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 Rotterdam
Rotterdam
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Netherlands
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Saint Petersburg
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São Paulo
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Brazil
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 Bogota
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Colombia
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 Seville
Seville
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Spain
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 Tehran
Tehran
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Iran
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 Tijuana
Tijuana
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, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...


Note: Some of the city's municipalities are also twinned to small cities or districts of other big cities, for details see their respective articles.

See also

  • Largest cities in the Americas
    Largest Cities in the Americas
    This is a list of the 50 largest cities in the Americas by population. Official definitions of cities are defined according to the concept of city proper, which is the territory within the city limits. The list ranks the world's urban municipal units according to population...

  • List of cities in the Caribbean

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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