Posted by: Caroline | July 27, 2012

Habana Vieja

Walking around Havana’s colorful streets lined with vintage cars, we found something that looked eerily familiar:

The national capitol building–modelled after the one in Washington, D.C.–is a prominent reminder of that time when the U.S. and Cuba were buddies.

Havana, with its practically Parisian architecture, is absolutely gorgeous.

The National Theater is a case in point.

Inside is equally grand.

Alex read an article in The Economist before we left about Contemporary Dance of Cuba, the national contemporary dance group. I’m so glad he did, because otherwise, we would not have thought to go to their Friday night performance at the National Theater. For $25, we saw a truly phenomenal show. Neither of us have been to a true dance performance like this before, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We thought we might get bored or not understand it, but we were captivated the whole time. The dancers performed 4 different short dances before intermission, ranging from love stories to optical illusions (my favorite dance involved dancers looking like they were floating and folding into curtains). After intermission (and a Cuban mojito, por supesto), the dancers tackled a retelling of Carmen called “Is Carmen Gay?”. I might have more to say about that if I knew the story of Carmen really well, but even without that background knowledge, the dance was entertaining–and the costumes were fantastically fun.

Cuba’s artistry doesn’t stop there. Bellas Artes is the national art museum, and it’s full of amazing work. We focused mainly on the modern and contemporary sections, which included a huge room of strongly political, Che-heavy pieces from the 60s and 70s.

Wandering around Havana Vieja (Old Havana), you stumble upon churches and plazas at every turn.

This church is much different from most of the Latin American churches we’ve seen. It’s incredibly ornate, with each column carefully engraved.

The Cathedral

Delicate architecture is all over Havana.

Even buildings that are crumbling maintain that Old World ambience.

Calle Obispo is a busy pedestrian street, full of vendors, tourists, money changing houses, musicians, dogs, juice shops, and laundry overhead.


  1. […] Other areas, still, scream Havana. […]

  2. […] living up to its potential. As big-city historic districts go, it has no match in this hemisphere: Havana is the only place I can think of that comes close. Some people feel it ought to be smart and chic, […]

  3. […] as a living museum of the USSR. Transnistria has a bit of the “lost in time” feel that Cuba has. The city is largely unchanged from the old Soviet days, and has avoided the redevelopment and […]

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