Plaza Vieja, Havana
Encyclopedia
The Old Square is a plaza located in 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....

, 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 plaza and its surroundings are also one of the seven consejos populares (wards) of the municipality of Old Havana. It has a residential population of 17,426.

The plaza was originally called Plaza Nueva (New Square). It emerged as an open space in 1559, after the Plaza de Armas and San Francisco. In colonial times it was a residential neighborhood of ​​the Creole plutocracy
Plutocracy
Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy. The word plutocracy is derived from the Ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratos, meaning to rule or to govern.-Usage:The term plutocracy is generally...

.

Plaza Vieja was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas - all witnessed by Havana's wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their balconies.

The urban architectural complex of Plaza Vieja is represented by valuable colonial buildings from the XVII, XVIII and XIX and some examples of the early twentieth century.

History

The plaza emerged in 1559 and was originally called Plaza Nueva (New Square). It was built as a popular alternative to Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas is the name for the main square in many Latin American cities. In Mexico this space is known as El Zócalo, and in Central America as Parque Central...

, the military and government main center, the name changed when another important square emerged in town, the Plaza del Santo Cristo.

In the eighteenth century the square was turned into a popular market, and was called Plaza del Mercado (Market Square) as Havana's commercial hub. In 1814 with the birth of the Mercado Nuevo (new market) in the Plaza del Cristo, the Old Square was renamed to differentiate it. The square has also been identified by other names such as Plaza Real, Mayor, Mercado, Fernando VII, Plaza of the Constitution, Park Juan Bruno Zaya and Park Julian Grimau.

20th century

The original Carrara marble fountain surrounded by four dolphins was demolished in the 1930s when President Gerardo Machado
Gerardo Machado
Gerardo Machado y Morales was President of Cuba and a general of the Cuban War of Independence...

 (1871-1939) built an underground parking lot here.

Since the early eighties, once Old Havana was declared 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...

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

, architects and restorers began a restoration project.
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