Ciudad De La HabanaCiudad De La HabanaCiudad De La Habana

L’Avana

 

    L’Avana
San Cristóbal de La Habana
 
Stato:  Cuba
Provincia: Città de L’Avana
 :  
Coordinate: 23°8′N82°23′W / 23.13333°N 82.38333°O / 23.13333; -82.38333Coordinate: 23°8′N82°23′W / 23.13333°N 82.38333°O / 23.13333; -82.38333 (Mappa)
Altitudine: 59 m s.l.m.
Superficie: 721,01 km²
Abitanti : 2.148.132[1]  (2008)
Densità: 3.053,5 ab./km²
CAP: 10xxx-19xxx
Prefisso tel: (+53) 7
Sindaco: Juan Contino Aslán

L’Avana (nome completo: San Cristóbal de La Habana) è la capitale di Cuba e, con una popolazione di 2,2 milioni di abitanti, la più grande città dei Caraibi. 

Storia

Il conquistador spagnolo Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar fondò L’Avana nel 1515 sulla costa sud dell’isola, vicino l’attuale città di Surgidero de Batabanó. L’Avana si trasferì nella sua posizione attuale vicino alla Baia Carenas nel 1519. Originariamente era un importante scalo commerciale, e divenne la capitale della colonia spagnola di Cuba nel 1607, ed il più importante porto di tutte le colonie spagnole nel Nuovo Mondo. L’Avana fu bruciata da bucanieri nel 1538, e venne saccheggiata nel 1553 e 1555. La Gran Bretagna si impossessò della città nel 1762 durante la Guerra dei sette anni, quando aprirono il porto al libero scambio, trasportandovi migliaia di africani schiavizzati. Quando la guerra finì la scambiarono in cambio della Florida. Dopo aver riguadagnato il controllo della città, gli spagnoli la resero la più fortificata di tutte le Americhe. Negli anni venti, durante il Proibizionismo negli Stati Uniti, L’Avana divenne un luogo di vacanza molto popolare per gli statunitensi; i nightclub e le case dove si giocava d’azzardo sopravvissero all’abrogazione della legge, ma la maggior parte vennero chiusi nel 1959 dopo la Rivoluzione cubana. Nella notte tra l’8 ed il 9 luglio 2005, la città è stata colpita direttamente dall’uragano Dennis. L’Avana è stata una delle città candidate per ospitare le Olimpiadi estive del 2012, assegnate a Londra, ma non è stata inclusa nemmeno tra le cinque città finaliste.

Geografia

L’Avana si trova nell’isola di Cuba, arcipelago dei Caraibi. La Provincia dell’Avana, malgrado sia una delle una delle più piccole di Cuba, è di gran lunga la più popolata. In città vi sono molteplici stili architettonici, dalle case del XVII secolo alle costruzioni moderne. L’Avana è naturalmente una delle mete più importanti del turismo a Cuba e in generale di tutta l’America Latina. È inoltre sede del governo e di molti ministeri. Le industrie dell’Avana svolgono un importante ruolo nell’economia del paese. Nel porto dell’Avana, il più importante dell’isola, vi circolano la metà delle importazioni ed esportazioni cubane. Nella notte tra l’8 e il 9 luglio del 2005, i sobborghi orientali della città furono colpiti dall’ uragano Dennis. Nell’Ottobre dello stesso anno, nelle zone costiere della città, vi furono violente inondazioni provocate dal passaggio dell’uragano Wilma.

Clima

Il clima dell’Avana è prevalentemente tropicale, con una stagione delle piogge in estate. Data la sua vicinanza al tropico del Cancro, la città riceve durante l’anno un’elevata quantità di raggi solari e questo determina un clima piuttosto caldo. La media annuale va dai 24 °C ai 26 °C. Nella tabella sottostante vengono elencate le temperature medie durante l’anno:

Temperature medie
  Gen Feb Mar Apr Mag Giu Lug Ago Set Ott Nov Dic
Media delle temperature massime giornaliere (°C) 25.8 26.1 27.6 28.6 29.8 30.5 31.3 31.6 31.0 29.2 27.7 26.5
Media delle temperature minime giornaliere (°C) 18.6 18.6 19.7 20.9 22.4 23.4 23.8 24.1 23.8 23.0 21.3 19.5
Giorni di pioggia 5.0 5.0 3.0 3.0 6.0 10.0 7.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 6.0 5.0
Source: Hong Kong Observatory

    L’Avana (Ciudad De La Habana), capitale nazionale, è suddivisa in 15 comuni.

Comune Popolazione (2004) Superficie (km²) Localizzazione Note
Arroyo Naranjo 210053 83 23°02′37″N82°19′58″W / 23.04361°N 82.33278°O / 23.04361; -82.33278 (Arroyo Naranjo)  
Boyeros 188593 134 23°00′26″N82°24′6″W / 23.00722°N 82.40167°O / 23.00722; -82.40167 (Boyeros)  
Centro Habana 158151 4 23°08′0″N82°23′0″W / 23.13333°N 82.38333°O / 23.13333; -82.38333 (Centro Habana)  
Cerro 132351 10 23°06′49″N82°21′48″W / 23.11361°N 82.36333°O / 23.11361; -82.36333 (Cerro)  
Cotorro 74650 66 23°01′34″N82°14′51″W / 23.02611°N 82.2475°O / 23.02611; -82.2475 (Cotorro)  
Diez de Octubre 227293 12 23°05′17″N82°21′35″W / 23.08806°N 82.35972°O / 23.08806; -82.35972 (Diez de Octubre)  
Guanabacoa 112964 127 23°03′40″N82°17′23″W / 23.06111°N 82.28972°O / 23.06111; -82.28972 (Guanabacoa)  
La Habana del Este 178041 145 23°09′25″N82°17′49″W / 23.15694°N 82.29694°O / 23.15694; -82.29694 (La Habana del Este)  
La Habana Vieja 95383 5 23°08′20″N82°21′20″W / 23.13889°N 82.35556°O / 23.13889; -82.35556 (La Habana Vieja) Patrimonio dell’umanità
La Lisa 131148 38 23°01′29″N82°27′47″W / 23.02472°N 82.46306°O / 23.02472; -82.46306 (La Lisa)  
Marianao 135551 21 23°05′3″N82°25′47″W / 23.08417°N 82.42972°O / 23.08417; -82.42972 (Marianao)  
Playa 186959 36 23°05′39″N82°26′56″W / 23.09417°N 82.44889°O / 23.09417; -82.44889 (Playa)  
Plaza de la Revolución 161631 12 23°07′28″N82°23′10″W / 23.12444°N 82.38611°O / 23.12444; -82.38611 (Plaza de la Revolución) Distretto governativo
Regla 44431 9 23°07′32″N82°18′55″W / 23.12556°N 82.31528°O / 23.12556; -82.31528 (Regla)  
San Miguel del Padrón 159273 26 23°05′47″N82°19′36″W / 23.09639°N 82.32667°O / 23.09639; -82.32667 (San Miguel del Padrón)  

Luoghi d’interesse

  • Malecón, il viale che corre lungo tutta la costa nord de L’Avana, collega i quartieri dell’Avana Vecchia, Centro Avana, Vedado e Miramar; sulla passeggiata si trovano sempre un gran numero di cubani. Si vedono la Punta, la fortezza del Morro che si vede sull’altro versante costiero, e l’incrocio con Calle 23 con l’ingresso al Vedado.
  • La Punta, punto d’inizio di Prado Ave., o Paseo del Prado. È il punto d’intersezione di Prado con il Malecón, con una enorme presenza di Casas Particulares.
  • Università de L’Avana, con più di 200 anni di storia è stata il centro del pensiero rivoluzionario.
  • L’Avana Vecchia (La Habana Vieja), mantiene una ricca collezione di edifici in stile coloniale spagnolo, ed è stata dichiarata Patrimonio dell’umanità dall’UNESCO. Fra i palazzi più rappresentativi de La Habana Vieja segnaliamo il palacio de los Marquéses de Aguas Claras, del XVIII secolo, che si affaccia sulla plaza de la Catedral e il palacio de los Capitanes Generales, anch’esso del XVIII secolo e situato nella plaza de Armas.Vi è una camminata che si articola da plaza de la Catedral, passando per plaza de Armas e finisce in Plaza Vieja, passando per la Bodeguita del medio, locale storicamente frequentato da Ernest Hemingway.
  • Centro Avana centro storico dell’Avana; qui si trovano locali di interesse oltre al Paseo del Prado (viale centrale della città), il Capitolio Nacional (la sede del Parlamento prima della rivoluzione), il teatro dell’Opera, l’Hotel Inglaterra, l’edificio Bacardi, e procedendo verso La Habana Vieja, il Museo de la Revolucion, all’interno dell’ex Palazzo Presidenziale. Fuori dal Museo, visibili dalla strada ci sono il Granma (la grossa barca con cui Fidel, Che Guevara ed altri 79 ribelli sbarcarono a Cuba nel 1956), e il carro armato su cui Fidel partecipò alla battaglia della Baia dei Porci.
  • Quartiere del Vedado, il più rilevante turisticamente, dopo L’Avana Vecchia, include il calle 23, l’hotel Habana Libre e la mitica plaza della Revolucion.
  • Aeroporto internazionale Jose Martì.
  • Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Personaggi famosi legati a L’Avana

  •  
  • Fidel Castro
  • Ernesto Che Guevara
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Eusebio Valli, medico e fisico italiano morto all’Avana studiando un vaccino
  • Dave Lombardo, batterista del gruppo Thrash Metal Slayer
  • José Martí, politico, poeta e scrittore
  • Andy García, attore
  • Tomas Milian, attore

Provincia de La Habana

 

Capital La Habana
Entidad Provincia
 • País  Cuba
Subdivisiones 15 municipios
Superficie Puesto 14.º
 • Total 721 km²
Población (2009) Puesto 1.º
 • Total 2.141.993 hab.
 • Densidad 2.970,86 hab/km²
 • Pobl. urbana 2.141.993 hab.

La Provincia de La Habana es una de las 15 provincias de Cuba, que comprende el territorio de la ciudad de La Habana, capital de la República.

Fue creada en 1976, con la división político-administrativa que separó la Antigua provincia de La Habana en dos provincias: Ciudad de La Habana y La Habana, esta última abarcando las áreas que rodeaban la ciudad. A partir de 2011, se abolió la Provincia de La Habana (rural) segmentando la misma en las nuevas provincias de Artemisa y Mayabeque, y se cambió el nombre de la Provincia de Ciudad de La Habana a simplemente: La Habana. De ese modo, actualmente no existe diferencia alguna entre la Provincia de La Habana y la ciudad de La Habana, capital del país, pues se trata de una ciudad con estatus de provincia.

Geografía

División administrativa (municipios) de la provincia.

Ubicación

Está situada en el Occidente de Cuba, en el litoral norte, entre los 22 grados de latitud norte y los 82 grados de longitud oeste. Límita al norte con el estrecho de la Florida, al este y al sur con la Provincia de Mayabeque y al oeste con la Provincia de Artemisa.

Superficie

723,92 km²

Geografía física

Su territorio está ocupado por la llanura y las alturas de La Habana-Matanzas. Las costas ocupan todo el límite norte, próxima al centro se localiza la bahía de La Habana y al este se encuentran varias playas de gran belleza. Su hidrografía está representada por los ríos Almendares, Martín Pérez, Quibú, Cojímar, Bacuranao y los embalses Bacuranao y Ejército Rebelde.

Población

2 188 404 (1996). Es la provincia más pequeña del país y la más poblada, con alrededor del 20% de la población.

Instituciones provinciales

La representación popular en la provincia la ostenta la Asamblea Provincial del Poder Popular, cuyo órgano ejecutivo es el Consejo de Administración Provincial que representa, a su vez, al Estado en el territorio. La sede de ambos órganos está en la Avenida de las Misiones del municipio de La Habana Vieja. la presidenta de ambos (al igual que en el resto de órganos locales) es desde 2011, Marta Hernández Romero.

La representación del poder judicial la tiene el Tribunal Provincial Popular con sede en la calle Brasil (Teniente Rey) del municipio de La Habana Vieja. La Fiscalía Provincial se encuentra en la Calle F del municipio de Plaza de la Revolución.

Presidentes / Gobernadores de la Provincia de La Habana (o Ciudad de La Habana)

  • Pedro Chávez González (1986-1991)
  • Oscar Fernández Mell (1991-1994)
  • Conrado Martínez Corona (1994-2003)
  • Juan Contino Aslán (2003-2011)
  • Marta Hernández Romero (2011- …)

 

Municipios

La Provincia de La Habana se compone a partir de 1976 de quince municipios. Integra los territorios de los antiguos municipios (anteriores a 1963) de La Habana, Marianao, Guanabacoa, Regla, Santiago de las Vegas y Santa María del Rosario, así como otras zonas colindantes.

 

Municipio

Cabecera municipal

Repartos, barrios y poblados

Arroyo Naranjo Zona urbana de Arroyo Naranjo Poey, Santa Amalia, Mantilla, La Palma, Víbora Park, Los Pinos, Managua, Calvario, Güinera, Eléctrico, Párraga.
Boyeros Poblado de Rancho Boyeros Santiago de las Vegas, Rancho Boyeros, Calabazar, Abel Santmaría, Fontanar, Wajay, Altahabana, Capdevila, Aldabó.
Centro Habana Todo el municipio Cayo Hueso, Dragones (Barrio Chino), Colón, Los Sitios, Pueblo Nuevo.
Cerro Zona urbana del Cerro El Cerro, Casino Deportivo, Las Cañas, Palatino, El Canal.
Cotorro Poblado del Cotorro Santa María del Rosario, Cotorro, Cuatro Caminos, Alberro.
Diez de Octubre Todo el municipio Víbora, Santos Suárez, Lawton, Luyanó, Sevillano, Vista Alegre, Tamarindo.
Guanabacoa Antigua villa de Guanabacoa Guanabacoa, Chibás, D’Beche, Minas, Barreras, La Jata.
La Habana del Este Reparto Alamar Alamar, Camilo Cienfuegos, Guiteras, Villa Panamericana, Cojímar, Guanabo, Boca Ciega, Campo Florido.
La Habana Vieja Todo el municipio Barrios del casco histórico, Tallapiedra
La Lisa Zona urbana de La Lisa La Lisa, Alturas de la Lisa, Arroyo Arenas, Punta Brava, Arimao, El Cano, San Agustín, La Coronela.
Marianao Todo el municipio Los Quemados, Pogolotti, Los Pocitos, Santa Felicia, El Palmar, Belén, Zamora, Coco Solo.
Playa Todo el municipio Miramar, Buenavista, La Ceiba, La Sierra, Kolhi, Siboney, Atabey, Santa Fe, Jaimanitas, Flores, Cubanacán, Almendares.
Plaza de la Revolución Todo el municipio El Vedado, Nuevo Vedado, Príncipe, Plaza, Puentes Grandes.
Regla Núcleo urbano de Regla Regla, Casablanca.
San Miguel del Padrón Núcleo urbano de San Miguel San Miguel, Diezmero, Alturas de Luyanó, Rocafort, San Fco. de Paula, Jacomino, California, Juanelo, La Rosalía, La Fernanda.

Arroyo Naranjo

Municipio del sur de la ciudad con amplias zonas suburbanas. Incluye las barriadas de La Palma, Santa Amelia, Párraga, Mantilla, El Calvario, Reparto Eléctrico, Las Guásimas, Managua, etc. También las áreas del Parque Lenin y el Jardín Botánico Nacional.

Boyeros

Municipio del sur de la ciudad, que coincide en su mayor parte con el antiguo municipio de Santiago de las Vegas, incorporando las barriadas de Altahabana, Los Pinos, Fortuna y Capdevila. Es un municipio con amplio desarrollo industrial e incluye el Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí. Se conoce también por la Feria Agropecuaria de Boyeros, así como por la sede del Zoológico Nacional y el Parque Río Cristal. Incluye el Hospital Nacional Enrique Cabrera, El Hospital Pediátrico William Soler, el de Rehabilitación Julito Díaz y el Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana.

Centro Habana

Se encuentra en la parte norte y central de la ciudad y al oeste de la bahía, tiene como límites al norte: el Estrecho de la Florida, al sur: el municipio Cerro, al este: el municipio Habana Vieja y al oeste: el municipio Plaza de la Revolución. Es el municipio más pequeño con una extensión superficial de 3,5 km². Tiene una población de 158 763 habitantes. Es el más densamente poblado con 45 360,9 habitantes por km².

Los asentamientos poblacionales del hoy municipio Centro Habana datan de los primeros años coloniales; están estrechamente vinculados a la fundación de la Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana (1514-1519), cuya posición privilegiada como Llave del Golfo de México despierta la codicia del mundo europeo, expresada en los constantes ataques de corsarios y piratas; como el que realiza el 10 de julio de 1555, Jacques de Sores. Posteriormente se construyó el cinturón amurallado (1667-1680) dividiendo a la ciudad en dos zonas bien definidas: intramuros y extramuros.

La actividad económica de Centro Habana se basa en el comercio, servicios, turismo y una industria fundamentada en las confecciones textiles, materiales higiénico-sanitarios, reactivos químicos, tabaco torcido, ampolletas, libros, libretas y folletos, concentrado de bebidas, licores y refrescos, láminas y piezas para la industria electrónica.[

En el municipio se encuentra la Escuela de Música Amadeo Roldán, los teatros América, el cine-teatro Astral, y el teatro Musical y el Barrio Chino, y se encuentra grandes Centros Comerciales como Ultra, La Época, Carlos III y el Tensen(Trasval).

Cerro

El municipio tiene una extensión superficial de 10,3km². Posee una población de 132 667 habitantes y tiene una densidad poblacional de 12 880,3 hab/km².

La industria constituye el peso económico del Cerro y dentro de sus fabricas fundamentales se cuentan: Fabrica de cervezas “Miguel Oramas” (La Polar), Fábrica de vinos “Fortín” (antigua Coca-Cola), dos fabricas de jabones y detergentes, tres laboratorios de productos farmacéuticos, Fábrica de cigarros “Orlando Nodarse” (H. UPMANN), Ronera Bocoy, Empresa Gráfica “Federico Engels” y la fábrica de pistones “1ro de Mayo“.

Entre sus principales atracciones se encuentra el Estadio Latinoamericano (béisbol) y la Ciudad Deportiva con la principal arena techada del país. En el territorio se encuentra además los hospitales Clínico Quirúrgico “10 de Octubre“, Clínico Quirúrgico “Salvador Allende“, “Joaquín Albarrán, Pediátrico de Centro Habana, Pediátrico del Cerro y Instituto de Neumología.

Cotorro

Suburbio industrial de la capital, al sureste, atravesado por la Carretera Central y la Autopista Nacional. La principal industria es la acería “Antillana de Acero“, la mayor del país. El territorio perteneció antiguamente al municipio de Santa María del Rosario, que constituye actualmente un poblado incluido en este municicpio. Se conserva la iglesia del Santa María, llamada la “catedral de los campos de Cuba“.

Diez de Octubre

Está situado en la parte centro-norte de la provincia, con una extensión territorial de 12,14km². Tiene una población de 228 365 habitantes con una densidad de población de 18 873,1 hab/ km². Abarca las barriadas e La Víbora, Lawton, Luyanó, El Sevillano, Naranjito y Santos Suarez.

Entre sus principales producciones y servicios se cuentan: la reparación de refrigeradores y vagones de ferrocarril, producción de losas de siporex, cigarros, condimentos, alcohol, galletas finas y el procesamiento de carnes y embutidos en dos importantes combinados cárnicos.

Guanabacoa

Antigua villa en las cercanías del puerto de La Habana, que fuera hasta 1963 un municipio independiente de ésta.

El actual municipio tiene una extensión territorial de 127.4 km². Cerca del 50 % del territorio es suburbano o rural y la mayoría de la población está concentrada hacia la región oeste en unos 27 km² de zona urbana, correspondiente al casco de la antigua villa de Guanabacoa. Está ubicado a 10 km al este del centro de la ciudad. Tiene una población de 112 893 habitantes, es el municipio con menos densidad de población con 885,7 hab./km².

La industria sideromecánica, con más del 33 % del monto de la producción mercantil del territorio, y la básica, con una cifra similar, representan el peso predominante en la economía local, seguidas de las fábricas textiles y de alimentos. Existen ocho empresas de la industria sideromecánica. Por su parte la Unión Geominera, con 12 entidades, se ocupa de la extracción de áridos para la construcción. Cuenta además con 320 centros fabriles, algunos de la industria alimentaria como Doña Delicias, productor de mayonesa.

Habana del Este

Es el municipio más grande de la provincia con una extensión territorial de 144,9 Km2. Se encuentra ubicado en la costa norte, al este de la Bahía de La Habana y comprende una franja costera de 20 kilómetros de largo aproximadamente. Incluye las nuevas barriadas de Alamar, Villa Panamericana, Camilo Cienfuegos y Reparto Guiteras, así como los antiguos poblados de Cojímar y Campo Florido. Allí se encuentran las llamadas playas del este de La Habana (Bacuranao, Boca Ciega, Santa María, Guanabo, etc.). Posee una población de 178 419 habitantes. Tiene una densidad poblacional de 1 231,3 habitantes por km².

Los renglones económicos del municipio son: la ganadería, construcción, servicio de transporte, industria ligera y pesca.

En Guanabo hay petróleo de mejor calidad que en las restantes zonas del Este. Es un petróleo ligero, fundamentalmente en playa Veneciana donde se explotan algunos pozos. Existen cuatro pozos que se les está explotando el gas metano que se emplean en las cocinas.

El turismo se va desarrollando y en la actualidad se están remodelando instalaciones turísticas y se están construyendo nuevas.[] Incluye también el Complejo Deportivo del Estadio Panamericano (Atletismo y Futbol) con Piscinas Olímpicas y Velódromo.

La Habana Vieja

En La Habana Vieja esta el Centro Histórico con bellísimos edificios barrocos, art nouveau y art deco entre ellos la Catedral de la Habana, el Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, varios castillos y fortalezas (La Punta, de El Príncipe, Atarés y de la Real Fuerza), el Capitolio, cine Payret, Gran Teatro de La Habana. Íntimos lugares que rezuman historia son la Plaza de Armas, con su vecino El Templete, y la Alameda de Isabel II, hoy Paseo de Martí.

El centro histórico y su sistema de fortificaciones es declarado Monumento Nacional el 6 de junio de 1978 y posteriormente como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO, durante la VI reunión del Comité del Patrimonio Mundial, celebrada del 13 al 17 de diciembre de 1982, en París.

 

 La Lisa

La Lisa es uno de los municipios más occidentales de la provincia Ciudad de La Habana, antiguo suburbio de la ciudad de Marianao, posee una configuración alargada y colinda con la vecina provincia de Artemisa. Su extensión territorial es de 37,5 km². Posee una población de 130 969 habitantes y tiene una densidad poblacional de 3492,5 hab/km².

En el se encuentran importantes centros de salud, tanto nacionalmente como internacionalmente]:

  • El Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kourí” (IPK), centro de gran prestigio en temas de enfermedades exóticas. Ha desarrollado diferentes diagnósticos de enfermedades, como el dengue, SIDA y otras de origen viral.
  • El “Instituto Finlay”, Centro de Investigación de Sueros y Vacunas, fue la institución que desarrolló la primera vacuna efectiva contra la meningitis causada por el meningococo B, por lo cual ha recibido diferentes reconocimientos internacionales.
  • El Hospital Ortopédico Internacional Frank País

Posee desarrollo industrial, destacándose la industria del vidrio y la automotriz.

Marianao

Antigua ciudad y municipio independiente de la capital y en la actualidad fusionado urbanísticamente con La Habana. Tiene una extensión territorial de 21,3km², y limita al norte con Playa (desgajado también de Marianao), al este con el Cerro y Plaza de la Revolución, al sur con Boyeros y al oeste con La Lisa. Reside una población de 135 639 habitantes con una densidad poblacional de 6 368,0 hab/km².

Marianao cuenta con el Hospital Militar “Carlos J. Finlay”, el Hospital Gineco-obstétrico “Dr. Eusebio Hernández”(Maternidad Obrera), el Hospital Oftalmológico “Ramón Pando Ferrer”(La Ceguera), el mejor cabaret de Cuba y uno de los más famosos del mundo: el Cabaret Tropicana, con más de medio siglo ofreciendo lo mejor de la música cubana, la danza y el arte caribeño.

También se encuentran el Instituto Superior Politécnico “José. A. Echevarría” (el mayor de su tipo en el país, proyectado e iniciado en la década del 50, concluido y ampliado después del triunfo de la Revolución), el Instituto Superior Pedagógico “Enrique José Varona”(la principal Universidad Pedagógica de Cuba), el Instituto Técnico Militar “José Martí” y especialmente, el gran complejo educacional “Ciudad Escolar Libertad”, que abarca un área de 2,6 km² y comprende dos círculos infantiles, un concentrado de preescolar, seis escuelas primarias, tres escuelas especiales – una de débiles visuales, una para niños autistas y otra de retardo en el desarrollo psíquico -, tres secundarias básicas, y un politécnico de la rama industrial.

Playa

Está situado al noroeste de la provincia, con una extensión de 36.2 km². Por su ubicación geográfica hay antecedentes socioculturales, económicos y políticos que lo vinculan estrechamente a los antiguos municipios de Marianao y Bauta. Cuenta el territorio con 12 km de costa que sirven como marco apropiado a instalaciones para el turismo y varios círculos sociales. Tiene una población de 187 580 habitantes con una densidad poblacional de 3025,1 hab/km².

El territorio que actualmente ocupa el municipio Playa fue una zona propicia para el asentamiento aborigen, por su proximidad a la costa y cuatro ríos relativamente cercanos. Es uno de los territorios de la provincia con el “mejor exponente de la temática aborigen”, por la mayor cantidad de evidencias encontradas la que presenta una de las más ricas colecciones arqueológicas.

Cuenta con el mayor Polo Científico del país, el Palacio de las Convenciones, el Acuario Nacional, la Maqueta de La Habana, Teatro Karl Marx, El Centro Internacional de Negocios de Miramar (Miramar Trade Center) numerosos restaurantes. Sus principales actividades económicas y sociales la constituyen la Salud, la Educación, el Turismo, las Investigaciones Científicas y la Industria Médico-farmacéutica. Las transformaciones de los últimos años han convertido al territorio en el principal productor de medicamentos y vacunas del país. También se destaca el desarrollo inversionista en la rama turística e inmobiliaria destacando:

  • Hotel Panorama
  • Hotel Melia Habana
  • Hotel Miramar
  • Hotel Comodoro
  • Hotel Copacabana
  • Hotel Mirazul
  • Hotel Palco
  • Centro de Negocios Miramar (Miramar Trade Center)
  • Galerías comerciales PALCO
  • Galerías boutique Comodoro

 

Plaza

El municipio Plaza de la Revolución tiene una extensión de 11, 8 km² y limita al norte con el Malecón (4 km de costa). Incluye la céntrica barriada de El Vedado, así como Nuevo Vedado. La población de este territorio asciende a 173 239 habitantes, además existe una población flotante de 20,000 a 30,000 personas diarias, estas cifras pueden ser aun superiores por motivo de trabajo o estudio.

Plaza es llamada “Capital de la Capital” ya que aquí se concentran la mayor cantidad de organismos de la administración central del Estado, la más importante red hospitalaria del país, centros de cultura, recreación, salones de exposiciones, galerías, museos, además de resumir en su población residente y flotante todas las aristas posibles que indican la universalidad esencial de la cubanía.

Posee disimiles instalaciones culturales y deportivas de gran importancia, tanto local como nacional. Algunas de ellas son: Teatro Mella, Teatro Nacional de Cuba, el complejo deportivo Ramón Fonst, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí (que posee más de dos millones de documentos en general) y varios centros nocturnos ubicados en la barriada “el Vedado” (centro cultural de la ciudad).

Regla

Antigua ciudad y municipio ubicado en el lado sur e a Bahía de La Habana, a lo cual debe el sobrenombre de “ultramarino pueblo de Regla“. La componen, geográficamente, dos regiones bien definidas enlazadas por tierra y por mar: Casablanca y Regla. Con una extensión territorial total de 9,2 km², colinda al norte con Habana del Este, al sur con San Miguel del Padrón, al este con Guanabacoa y al oeste con Habana Vieja. Tiene una población total de 44 501 habitantes y una densidad de población de 4837,1 hab/km².

Es el segundo municipio con mayor peso económico en la ciudad y en él están comprometidos más del 50% de las actividades del puerto capitalino, así como la totalidad de las inversiones que en materia de desarrollo se ejecutan en esa rada habanera.

Dentro de sus producciones fundamentales se encuentran: la refinación de petróleo, gas licuado, producciones de aluminio, captura bruta de pescado congelado y harina de trigo, así como cuenta con astilleros e industrias de construcción. Los principales objetivos económicos del municipio son: La Flota Cubana de Pesca, la Flota del Golfo, la Terminal Pesquera, la Brigada Pesada de Construcción y los Diques.

Regla cuenta con tres monumentos nacionales: El Santuario de Regla, el Palacio Municipal y la Colina Lenin. El Liceo Artístico y Literario fundado en 1878 está considerado como Monumento Local. Un símbolo característico de la cultura popular de esta localidad lo encontramos en la comparsa “Los Guaracheros de Regla” que ha obtenido premios no solo en el ámbito nacional sino también en el internacional y cuya presencia ya es habitual en los carnavales mexicanos de Veracruz.

San Miguel del Padrón

Tiene unapoblación de aproximadamente de 155 692 habitantes, de ellos 74 939 son hombres y 80 753 mujeres. La densidad demográfica alcanza los 5 655 hab/km². Es el séptimo municipio en superficie y el sexto más poblado. El municipio incluye las barriadas de Virgen del Camino, Luyanó Moderno, Barrio Obrero, Juanelo, Diezmero, San Francisco de Paula y otras. San Miguel tiene como atracción fundamental la “Finca Vígia” donde vivó Ernest Hemingway por más de 20 años.

Algunas industrias relevantes son: Planta Motores TAÍNO, Combinado Industrial Juan Milián, Empresa de Aseguramiento del Cemento y Empresa de Envases Metálicos Luis Melián. En el municipio nace la Autopista Nacional.

Economía

Están representadas todas las actividades económicas. Su base fundamental es la industria y los servicios, así como los centros de administración política y económica del país. Industrias: alimentaria, farmacéutica, biotecnológica, ligera, pesca, textil, refinería de petróleo, fábricas de cigarros y tabacos, y siderúrgica. Posee el mayor puerto de Cuba donde predominan la carga y descarga de mercancía. 33 % de tierras agrícolas, 4% de tierras forestales. La Ciudad de La Habana aporta más del 43% del PIB nacional. El ritmo de crecimiento anual promedio de este indicador en la provincia entre 1995 y el 2000 fue de 10,7%.

Cuba tiene aún enormes recursos minerales: Las grandes reservas de níquel y hierro de la provincia de Holguín son una de las mayores del mundo. Cuba tiene también grandes reservas de cromo, cobalto, cobre y manganeso, teniendo, en menores cantidades, zinco, oro, plata y plomo. Asimismo, tiene la capacidad de producir la mitad del manganeso químico del mundo y es la segunda fuente de este mineral, después de Brasil, del hemisferio occidental. El valor de las reservas de cobre hacen que Cuba tenga el decimotercer puesto de las reservas de cobre del mundo, y el cuarto puesto en América Latina.

Desde 1914, en Bacuranao, se había descubierto que Cuba podía poseer algo de petróleo. En 1954, el Grupo Tarabuca, una compañía petrolera, descubrió una bolsa muy rica en Jatibonico. En 1956 hubo otro descubrimiento importante, también en Jatibonico, y otro, de iguales dimensiones en Yayabo, Pinar del Río, pero estos yacimientos no han sido explotados adecuadamente, dada las condiciones económicas imperantes y a que toda la tecnología desarrollada hasta el momento tiene que ser importada. El descubrimiento más importante que se ha hecho hasta el momento ha sido en las aguas nacionales cubanas en el golfo de México. Según la compañía española Repsol YPF, que ha estado perforando en la zona, cree que puede haber una reserva de 1.600 millones de barriles de petróleo de excelente calidad, aunque el embargo de Estados Unidos pudiera ser un grave problema, ya que mucho del equipo de alta tecnología para extraer el crudo desde esas profundidades es estadounidense.

La Habana en cifras (primer semestre de 2005)

Con respecto al país, la provincia es: 1.- 47,7% del volumen de inversiones 2.- 25,3% de la Circulación mercantil minorista 3.- 45% de los ingresos del turismo 4.- 25,1% de los gastos de seguridad social 5.- 23,3% del comercio minorista 6.- 46% de las líneas telefónicas 7.- 42% de la recaudación tributaria 8.- 60% de la transportación de carga y descarga de los pueblos 9.- 40,8% de la producción mercantil 10.- 34% de la producción industrial 11.- 44% de los turistas que visitan al país 12.- 24,1% del consumo de portadores energéticos

Turismo

Principal polo turístico del país, posee una amplia red hotelera en desarrollo. Sus principales atractivos son el patrimonio histórico-cultural y recreativo de la ciudad donde sobresalen el centro histórico de La Habana Vieja, las playas, las áreas recreativas de parques suburbanos como el Zoológico Nacional, Jardín Botánico y Parque Lenin, y el área de exposiciones permanentes de EXPOCUBA. También existe una amplia planta de museos, galerías, teatros, restaurantes, salas de baile, cabarets, etc.

Servicios sociales

Educación: 408 círculos infantiles, 488 escuelas primarias, 162 centros de enseñanza media, 36 institutos tecnológicos, 9 centros de enseñanza superior, y 120 de otros tipos de enseñanza.

Salud: 47 hospitales, 85 policlínicos, 38 clínicas estomatológicas. 6 542 médicos de la familia, 87, 3 médicos por cada 10 000 habitantes (1995). Mortalidad infantil: 7 por cada mil nacidos vivos.

Havana

 

Havana

 
La Habana
Havana :Location in Cuba
Coordinates: 23°08′N 082°23′W / 23.133°N 82.383°W / 23.133; -82.383Coordinates: 23°08′N 082°23′W /23.133°N 82.383°W / 23.133; -82.383
Country Cuba
Province La Habana
Founded 1515a
City status 1592
Municipalities 15
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Marta Hernández (PCC)
Area
 • Total 728.26 km2 (281.2 sq mi)
Elevation 59 m (194 ft)
Population (2009) Official Census[1]
 • Total 2,141,993
 • Density 2,932.3/km2 (7,594.6/sq mi)
Demonym habanero (m), habanera (f)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code 10xxx–19xxx
Area code(s) (+53) 7
Patron Saints Saint Christopher
a Founded on the present site in 1519.

Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi) — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous. 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.

Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent becoming a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. King Philip II of Spain 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 in Havana’s harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish-American War.

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban Government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices. The current mayor is Marta Hernández from the Communist Party of Cuba (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 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Moreover, the city is noted for its history, 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 word havene, referring to a harbour.

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 Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Havana on August 25, 1515 or 1514, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó, or more likely on the banks of the Mayabeque River close to Playa Mayabeque. 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, next to the Almendares River. The final city’s location was adjacent to what was then called Puerto de Carenas (literally, “Careening 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: the name combines San Cristóbal, patron saint 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 organized his expedition to Mexico from the island.

Havana was originally a trading port, and suffered regular attacks by buccaneers, pirates, and French corsairs. The first attack and resultant burning of the city was by the French corsair Jacques de Sores 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 of Seville (the crown-controlled trading house that held a monopoly 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, combining various Iberian architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian characteristics.

In 1649 a fatal epidemic brought from Cartagena 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, ranking behind Lima and Mexico City but ahead of Boston and New York.

The city was captured by the British during the Seven Years’ War. 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 and Army, sailed into Cuban waters and made an amphibious landing east of Havana. The British immediately opened up trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years’ War. The treaty gave Britain Florida 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 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, the biggest Spanish fortification in the New World. On January 15, 1796, the remains of Christopher Columbus were transported to the island from Santo Domingo. They rested here until 1898, when they were transferred to Seville’s Cathedral, 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.

In 1837, the first railroad was constructed, a 51 km stretch between Havana and Bejucal, which was used for transporting sugar 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-speaking country. Throughout the century, Havana was enriched by the construction of additional cultural facilities, such as the Tacon Teatre, 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 to create a ‘Golden Circle’ with a 1200 mile-radius centered on Havana. After the Confederate States of America were defeated in the American Civil War 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 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. The US occupation officially ended when Tomás Estrada Palma, first president of Cuba, took office on 20 May 1902.

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. 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 1930s, organized crime characters were not unaware of Havana’s nightclub and casino life, and they made their inroads in the city. Santo Trafficante, Jr. took the roulette wheel at the Sans Souci Casino, Meyer Lansky directed the Hotel Habana Riviera, with Lucky Luciano at the Hotel Nacional 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. 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, 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 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 states of Eastern Europe. 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

Map of Havana, showing narrow entrance to bay & 3 harbour areas: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés .

Havana lies on the northern coast of Cuba, south of the Florida Keys, where the Gulf of Mexico joins the Caribbean . 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 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 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 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, Havana has a tropical savanna climate. Average temperatures range from 72 °F (22 °C) in January and February to 82 °F (28 °C) in August. The temperature seldom drops below 50 °F (10 °C). The lowest temperature was 33 °F (1 °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 (1,200 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:


Climate data for Havana

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average high °C (°F) 25.8 (78.4) 26.1 (79.0) 27.6 (81.7) 28.6 (83.5) 29.8 (85.6) 30.5 (86.9) 31.3 (88.3) 31.6 (88.9) 31.0 (87.8) 29.2 (84.6) 27.7 (81.9) 26.5 (79.7)
Average low °C (°F) 18.6 (65.5) 18.6 (65.5) 19.7 (67.5) 20.9 (69.6) 22.4 (72.3) 23.4 (74.1) 23.8 (74.8) 24.1 (75.4) 23.8 (74.8) 23.0 (73.4) 21.3 (70.3) 19.5 (67.1)
Rainfall mm (inches) 64.4 (2.535) 68.6 (2.701) 46.2 (1.819) 53.7 (2.114) 98.0 (3.858) 182.3 (7.177) 105.6 (4.157) 99.6 (3.921) 144.4 (5.685) 180.5 (7.106) 88.3 (3.476) 57.6 (2.268)
% humidity 75 74 73 72 75 77 78 78 79 80 77 75
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5 5 3 3 6 10 7 9 10 11 6 5
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN), Climate-Charts.com

 

Cityscape

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: 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, 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, 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, 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 is located in the Miramar neighborhood.

In the 1980s many parts 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).  

  1. Playa: Santa Fé, Siboney, Cubanacán, Ampliación Almendares, Miramar, Sierra, Ceiba, Buena Vista.
  2. Plaza de la Revolución : El Carmelo, Vedado-Malecón, Rampa, Príncipe, Plaza, Nuevo Vedado-Puentes Grandes, Colón-Nuevo Vedado, Vedado.
  3. Centro Habana: Cayo Hueso, Pueblo Nuevo, Los Sitios, Dragones, Colon.
  4. La Habana Vieja : Prado, Catedral, Plaza Vieja, Belén, San Isidro, Jesús Maria, Tallapiedra.
  5. Regla : Guacanimar, Loma Modelo, Casablanca.
  6. La Habana del Este : Camilo Cienfuegos, Cojimar, Guiteras, Alturas de Alamar, Alamar-Este, Guanabo, Campo Florido, Alamar-Playa.
  7. Guanabacoa : Mañana-Habana Nueva, Villa I, Villa II, Chivas-Roble, Debeche-Nalon, Hata-Naranjo, Peñalver-Bacuranao, Minas-Barreras.
  8. San Miguel del Padrón: 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 : CAI-Los Ángeles, Pocito-Palmas, Zamora-Cocosolo, Libertad, Pogoloti-Belén-Finlay, Sta Felicia.
  12. La Lisa : Alturas de La Lisa, Balcón Arimao, Cano-Bello26-Valle Grande, Punta Brava, Arroyo Arenas, San Agustín, Versalles Coronela.
  13. Boyeros: Santiago de Las Vegas, Nuevo Santiago, Boyeros, Wajay, Calabazar, Altahabana-Capdevila, Armada-Aldabo.
  14. Arroyo Naranjo: 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, 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 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, 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. 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 (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 point between the new world and old 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 (1558–1577) designed by Battista Antonelli and the Castillo del Morro (1589–1630). This sits at the entrance of Havana Bay 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, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Roman. The San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary (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 movement in Havana started in 1927, in the residential area of MiramarThe Edificio Bacardi (1930) is thought to be the best example of Art-deco architecture in the city and first tall Art Deco building as wellfollowed by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba (1930) and The Lopez Serrano building built in 1932 by Ricardo Mira inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York. 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, and Vedado.The city’s eclectic architectural sights begins in Centro Habana. The Central Railway Terminal (1912), and the Museum of the Revolution (1920) are example of Eclectic architecture.

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, Richard Neutra and Oscar Niemeyer all passed through the city, while strong influences can be seen in Havana at this time from Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 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 (1957) designed by Irving Feldman, 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: contains the core of the original city of Havana. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Plaza Vieja: a plaza in Old Havana, it was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas.
  • Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña, 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 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: 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: 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 in Rio de Janeiro.
  • The Great Theatre of 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: is the avenue that runs along the north coast of the city, beside the seawall. The Malecón is the most popular avenue of Havana, it is known for its sunsets.
  • Hotel Nacional de Cuba: an Art Deco National Hotel famous in the 1950s as a gambling and entertainment complex.
  • Museo de la Revolución: located in the former Presidential Palace, with the yacht Granma on display behind the museum.
  • Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón: a cemetery and open air museum,[34] 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

Old Havana and its Fortifications *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
 
Country Cuba
Type Cultural
Criteria iv, v
Reference 204
Region ** Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 1982 (6th Session)

* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List ** Region as classified by UNESCO

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 of 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. In the 17th century it was one of the main shipbuilding centers. The city was built in baroque 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 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. Old Havana and its fortifications were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List 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 Guangdong, Fujian, Hong Kong, and Macau via Manila, Philippines 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.[38][42] 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, a large one located on Calle Dragones, the People’s Republic of China donated the materials in the late 1990s, it has a well defined written welcoming sign in Chinese 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 Center, dedicated to universal art. Its artistic heritage is made ​​up of over 45,000 pieces.

The Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolución), designed in Havana by Cuban architect Carlos Maruri, and the Belgian Paul Belau, who came up with an eclectic design, harmoniously combines Spanish, French and German architectural elements. The museum was the 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 (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. 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 and Chantilly, France; Meissen, Germany; and Wedgwood, England, as well as Chinese from the Qianlong Emperor period and Japanese from the Imari. The furniture comes from Stéphane Boudin, Jean Henri Riesener and several others.

Several museums in Old Havana houses furniture, silverware, pottery, glass and other items from the colonial period. One of these is the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, where Spanish governors once lived. The Casa de Africa presents another aspect of Cuba’s history, it houses a large collection of Afro-Cuban religious artifacts.

Other museums in the city include Casa de los Árabes (House of Arabs) and the Casa de Asia (House of Asia) with Middle and Far Eastern collections. Havana’s Museo del Automobil has an impressive collection of vehicles dating back to a 1905 Cadillac.

While most museums of Havana are situated in Old Havana, few of them can also be found in Vedado. 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).

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 Great Theatre of Havana, a prominent theatre built in 1837.It is now home of the National Ballet of Cuba and the International Ballet Festival of Havana, one of the oldest in the New World. The façade of the building is adorned with a stone and marble statue. There are also sculptural pieces by Giuseppe Moretti, 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 Enrico Caruso sang, the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova danced, and the French Sarah Bernhardt acted.

Other important theatres in the city includes the National Theater of Cuba, housed in a huge modern building located in Plaza de la Revolucion, 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 with its large auditorium have a seating capacity 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.

Festivals

Further information: Festivals in Havana

  • Havana Film Festival (The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema)
  • International Ballet Festival of Havana
  • Havana International Jazz Festival

 

Tourism

Havana 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 city has long been a popular attraction for tourists. 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, where restrictive prohibition on alcohol and other pastimes stood in stark contrast to the island’s traditionally relaxed attitude to leisure pursuits.

With the deterioration of Cuba – United States relations and the imposition of the trade embargo 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 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 and Parkinsons disease, and orthopaedics. Many patients are from Latin America, although medical treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, often known as night blindness, has attracted many patients from Europe and North America.

Economy

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 and Matanzas, 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.

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, casinos, 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

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1750 70,000
1931 728,500 +940.7%
1943 946,000 +29.9%
1953 1,223,900 +29.4%
1960 1,529,800 +25.0%
1975 1,917,500 +25.3%
1981 1,929,400 +0.6%
1990 2,107,500 +9.2%
1997 2,197,700 +4.3%
2002 2,204,028 +0.3%
2005 2,181,324 −1.0%
2009 2,141,993 −1.8%

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 of 76.81 years at birth. In 2009, there were 1,924 people living with HIV/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 and Canarian ancestry)
  • Afro-Cuban: 16.4%, (whose ancestors were slaves)
  • mulatto (mixed-race): 20.4%
  • Asian: 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 population was virtually wiped out in colonial times.

Havana agglomeration grew rapidly during the first half of the 20th 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 1980s, 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, mostly Cantonese ancestors, were brought in the mid-19th century by Spanish settlers via the Philippines 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 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 after Castro took to power in 1959. The city once had five synagogues, but only three remain (one Orthodox, 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
slums/ ghetto 2001 21,552 72,986 3.3
shelters 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 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. 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” 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 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.

Transport

Urban buses The city’s public buses are carried out by two divisions, Metrobus and Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM). 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 800–1,000 metres (2,600–3,300 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.

Omnibus Metropolitanos

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 fleets in the country, its fleet is made up of mostly new Chinese Yutong buses,[81] but as well older Busscar buses. In 2008 the Cuban government invested millions of dollars for the acquisition of 1,500 new Yutong urban buses.

Airports

Havana is served by José Martí International Airport. The Airport lies about 11 kilometres (7 mi) south of the city center, in the municipality of Boyeros, and is the main hub for the country’s flag carrier Cubana de Aviación. The airport is Cuba’s main international and domestic getaway, it connects Havana with the rest of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, Europe and one destination in Africa. The city is also served by Playa Baracoa Airport which is small airport to the west of city used for some domestic flights, primarily Aerogaviota.

Rail

Havana has a network of suburban, interurban and long-distance rail lines. The railways are nationalised and run by the UFC (Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba – Union for Railways of Cuba). The UFC connects Havana with all the provinces of Cuba. The main railway stations are: Central Rail Station, La Coubre Rail Station, Casablanca Station, and Estación de Tulipán.

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, some 836 kilometres (519 mi) apart by rail. In 2000 the Union de Ferrocarriles de Cuba bought French first class air conditioned coaches.

In the 1980s there were plans for a Metro system in Havana similar to Moscow’s, as a result of the Soviet Union 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.[82] 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 in 1991 the project was later dropped.

Roads

The city’s road network is quite extensive, and has broad avenues, main streets and major access roads to the city such as the Autopista Nacional (A1), Carretera Central and Via Blanca. The road network has been under construction and growth since the colonial era, is currently undergoing a major deterioration due to low maintenance.

Expressways (autopistas) include

  • A1 – Autopista Nacional, from Havana to Santa Clara and Sancti Spiritus, with additional short sections near Santiago and Guantanamo
  • A4 – Autopista Este-Oeste, from Havana to Pinar del Río
  • Via Blanca, from Matanzas to Varadero
  • Havana ring road (Spanish: 1er anillo de La Habana), which starts at a tunnel under the entrance to Havana Harbor
  • Autopista del Mediodia, from Havana to San Antonio de los Baños
  • An autopista from Havana to Melena del Sur
  • An autopista from Havana to Mariel

 

Administration

The current mayor of Havana (President of the People’s Power Provincial Assembly) is Marta Hernández Romero, she was elected on March 5, 2011.

The city is administered by a city-provincial council, with a mayor as chief administrative officer. Thus, Havana functions as both a city and a province, the city has little autonomy and dependent upon the national government, particularly, for much of its budgetary and overall political direction.

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, 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 on the south and east and to Artemisa Province on the west, since former La Habana Province (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, located in the Vedado section of Havana, was established in 1728 and was regarded as a leading institution of higher learning in the Western Hemisphere. 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 where the vast majority of today’s Cuban engineers are formed.

The Cuban National Ballet School with 4,350 students is one of the largest ballet schools in the world and the most prestigious ballet 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 subsidies in the early 1990s and the US embargo. 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, and the lowest in the developing world. 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. 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 are Industriales and Metropolitanos. The city has several large sports stadiums, the largest one is the Estadio Latinoamericano. 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. 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, but was not shortlisted.

   Twin towns — sister cities See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Caribbean Havana is twinned with:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Beijing, China
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Cuzco, Peru
  • Esfahān, Iran
  • Glasgow,United Kingdom
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Leon,Guanajuato, Mexico[
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Mobile, United States
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • S. Domingo,Dominican Republic
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Seville, Spain
  • Tehran, Iran
  • Tijuana, Mexico

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.