Havana, Cuba

General Information

Regional secretariat

None

Administrative status

Capital of the Island of Cuba.

Old Havana and its Fortifications

Registration Year

1982

Historical function

Trade.

Location and site

Havana (La Habana) occupies a narrow peninsula at the entrance of a well protected port. Situated in the northernmost part of the Island of Cuba and of the West Indies crescent, it opens onto the Florida Strait and the Atlantic Ocean.

Urban morphology

An artery runs alongside the sea and up against the contours of Havana’s landscape. The overall plan, composed of narrow, rectilinear streets, is organised according to an orthogonal grid. The four squares that formed the basis of the urban design, including the Plaza de Armas which served as the nucleus of the city, are situated near the port.

Baroque and Neoclassical architecture make up the monumental fabric of the old city. The Cathedral and the important civic monuments, including the municipal palace of the 18th century, are of Baroque inspiration, as are a number of urban ensembles, such as the Plaza Vieja. These are complemented by seigneurial homes of Neoclassical styling. The houses are decorated with ironwork and arcades.

Registration criteria

Criteria IV and V are cited without details.
Evaluation of ICOMOS

Historical reference

  • Soon after the foundation of Havana in 1519, the Spanish undertook the fortification of the site to protect it from repeated attacks by pirates and privateers in 1528, 1555 and 1563. The process of construction and reconstruction continued over a period of four centuries. In the 16th century, the layout of the Plaza de Armas was established and three other urban squares were added as the base of Havana’s original urban plan. By the end of the century, the Castello de Morro was erected at the entrance of the port.
  • In the 17th century, Havana was already the foremost centre for naval construction in the West Indies. Its economic role began to outweigh its strategic role as its port became the transit point for shipping gold and silver from Mexico and Peru to European destinations. New fortresses, convents and churches were erected.
  • Havana was taken over by the English in 1762 and reconquered by the Spanish in 1763. The famous Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña (1772-1774) was constructed later, as were several palaces. The Cathedral was built at the end of the 18th century. The Plaza de Armas was the nucleus of the city in the 19th century.

Photos

Contact

Dip. Marta Hernández Romero

Presidente de la Asamblea Provincial
Poder Popular de la Ciudad de La Habana

Av. de las Misiones, n° 25
La Habana Vieja, Cuba

+53.7 867 0534 / 867 0573-76

Lic. Perdomo Manso Ramón Zenen

Director
Dirección de Relaciones Internacionales

Calle G No. 305 entre 13 y 15, Vedado
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
10100

+53.7 838 2886
relint@ch.gov.cu

Arq. Patricia Rodríguez Alomá

Directora
Plan Maestro para la Revitalización Integral de La Habana Vieja

Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana Palacio del Conde de Casa Lombillo Empedrado # 151. La Habana Vieja
La Habana Vieja, Cuba
10100

+53.7 860 4311-14
patricia@planmaestro.ohc.cu

Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler

Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana
Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana

Avenida del Puerto esq. Obrapia, La Habana Vieja
La Habana Vieja, Cuba
10100

+53.7 862 6522 / 863 9862
ohc@ohc.cu

Lic. Pablo Fornet Gil

Vicedirector
Plan Maestro-Oficina del Historiador

Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana, Palacio del Conde de Casa de Lombillo, Empedrado No. 151 esq. Mercaderes. La Habana Vieja
La Habana, Cuba
10100

+53.7 860 4311
pablo@dicuv.ohc.cu