Architecture and History of Havana – an Introduction

Columbus landed on the northeastern coast of Cuba, today's Baracoa, in November of 1492, claiming that human eyes had never seen such beauty. Having spent a week in Baracoa, I would have to agree, and will blog more details about Baracoa as my photo trail takes me to that amazing part of the island over the next few weeks.

As the Spanish Conquistadores ventured through the land, claiming everything in their path for the Spanish Crown of Fernando and Isabel, they endured the hardships of mountain ranges and rivers that separate the eastern coast of Cuba from the western tip. In 1519, the Spanish decided to establish the city of La Habana (Havana) claiming that the harbor provided the best point of defense from attacks from buccaneers, pirates and the French and British who might impinge on their new lands.

Quickly, the Spanish built four forts around the Plaza de las Armas where the Spanish government established its seat, and development began in every direction away from the bay. Today, this whole area is still known as La Habana Vieja, Old Havana.

Old Havana, with its historic and magnificent architecture spanning five centuries is what is feverishly being restored today as seen in the above pictures showing buildings in desperate need of repair, others under scaffolding and still others that have been brought back to their original splendor.

It will require many blogs on the architecture and history in Old Havana to provide a glimpse to the challenges and complexities of this undertaking as the city prepares to celebrate its 500th birthday in 2019, and I hope you continue to visit the blog and comment on what I blog.