# 10 Hotel Both Worlds in Cuba
The Hotel Ambos Mundos is a hotel of square form with five floors, built with an eclectic set of characteristics of 20th-century style architecture. It was built in 1924 on a site that previously had been occupied by an old family house on the corner of Calle Obispo and Mercaderes (Bishop and Merchants Streets) in La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), Cuba.
This hotel since has gained international note from its most famous long-time tenant: in 1932 a room on the upper (5th) floor became the “first home” in Cuba of writer Ernest Hemingway, who enjoyed the views of Old Havana, and the harbor sea in which he fished frequently in his yacht Pilar. Hemingway rented the room for $1.50 per night.
Today, his hotel room, No. 511, is presented as if the author might have left it, and is a small museum in the middle of the establishment, with tours given regularly in the daytime. The corner of the ground floor hotel lobby also has two walls of framed photographs dedicated to Hemingway.
In 1987, the hotel underwent some small restoration, with more complete work finalized in 1997 to turn it once again into a luxurious hotel reminiscent of its time. Between 2004–2005, further maintenance as carried out, cleaning and painting the Hotel’s facades.
# 9 The Colon Cemetery in Cuba
The Colon Cemetery, which was established in 1876, was named after Christopher Columbus and designed by Galician, a Madrid-educated architect. The Colon Cemetery contains over 500 major mausoleums, chapels, and family vaults, with styles running from renaissance to neoclassical to art deco. It is one of the most famous and beautiful open-air funeral art exhibitions.
The very first occupant of Colon Cemetery was the architect Loira himself, who died before the project was finished. Currently, the cemetery holds over 800,000 graves and included a million interments. This means that the place for this still-operational cemetery is a premium, so typically remains are removed after three years to be boxed up and put in storage in order to make room for new interments.
# 8 Capitolio Nacional in Cuba
This is undoubtedly one of Cuba’s most notable buildings. Only world-class materials were used in this construction and most of the detail on the walls, ceiling, doors and lamps were cast in France. The superb main doors of ornamented bronze, designed by Enrique García Cabrera, depict the history of Cuba. The construction is monumental in itself, but its impact on the urban surroundings is minimized by its right proportion and well-designed façades.
One of the best-known landmarks of Havana and even Cuba, the Capitolio Nacional is a fantastic tourist attraction of the capital city. The third largest statue (under cover) of the world is housed in the fantastic Neoclassical building of the Capitolio Nacional. Around the building are gardens laid out by French landscape architect and designer Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier at the time of the original construction. Based on the designs of some of the beautiful simple European gardens they consist of areas of lawn bordered by paths and highlighted by palms. Four groups of Royal Palms accent the design.
# 7 El Malecon in Cuba
This place shows Havana’s soul and is considered the capital’s heart. It attracts more locals and tourists than the long stretched Malecon. This sea boulevard goes 7 km along the historical areas of the town, from the colonial center (Habana Vieja) through the boring (Soviet) apartments of Vedado, if it is a resume of Havana’s past. There are a lot of very nice houses along the busy street, but it’s the total thing what makes it interesting, in specific when the Bay of Habana is lightened by the sunset. For Habaneros the Malecon means tradition and religion, they bring offers to the Yoruba gods and throw it into the sea.
A walk along the Malecon will give you the real feeling you must get while visiting the capital. In specific at sunset the houses get this magical colors when the sun shines on the old buildings. Also at night, lots of lovers kissing and hugging while looking at the sea. It’s a real meeting place for youth.
On stormy days the waves attack the seawall and you will see boys playing not to get slammed to the ground by the waves. These storms are inspiration for Santaria religious people, they consider it as the revange of the goddess Yemaya.
Many Cubans do fishing at the Malecon some by sitting on the seawall itself, others take their inner tube and go into the sea to catch their daily fish, dinner for tonight. At daytime kids enjoy the sea while playing games.
# 6 Havana Cigar Factory in Cuba
The factory was founded in 1845 and currently produces over 5 million cigars every year. Dispite cameras are not at all allowed in the factory, the tour experience is certainly one to remember as the rich smell of some of the world’s finest tobaccos accompanies you along an hour journey.
The factory is sure a wonderful thing to do for travelers to Cuba, and it is an important part of the Cuban cultural landscape. For those looking to capture the magnificence of the factory, the windows of El Capitolio provide an absolutely brilliant viewing angle. The architecture of Havana brings in thousands of tourists every year who want to be able to see these magnificent buildings in person.
Travellers from all walks of life join Cuba Education Tours every year, and whether you are coming for history, architecture, or just to capture a glimpse of life in Havana, Partagas is certainly one attraction you won’t want to miss.
Everything about the Partagas cigar factory helps explain why their cigars are famed around the globe.
# 5 Havana in Cuba
The history is piled up in Havana like a treasure on the island. The colonial squares and the houses are looking like a real palette and paint the city. Walk the streets of Habana Vieja and you’ll quickly feel a genuine connection with the past in the imposing coastal fortifications and intimate, traffic-free plazas. Equally engrossing are the more recent leftovers from Cuba’s marriages and divorces with both the USA and the USSR.
Noone knows why the city is so beautiful. Maybe the history left his soul in Havana, maybe it’s the salsa energy that ricochets off walls and emanates most emphatically from the people.
It may not be like Paris’ or New York’s quite yet, but the art culture in Havana is currently one of the city’s biggest surprises. The creativity is nothing new. Cuban artists have been quietly challenging cultural elites ever since native-born José Nicolás de la Escalera started painting black slaves in the 18th century. Today the work of Escalera and others is splendidly displayed in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Meanwhile, a newer, racier crew congregates for electrifying ‘happenings’ at the Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the vortex of Havana’s contemporary art scene.
# 4 The Cathedral De San Christobal De La Havana in Cuba
‘Music set in stone’ was how Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier once described Havana’s incredible cathedral, which is dominated by two unequal towers and framed by a theatrical baroque facade designed by Italian architect Francesco Borromini.
The church was built in the Baroque architectural style with several Tuscan elements, and is considered one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Cuba. The building is mainly constructed from blocks of coral cut from sources in the Gulf of Mexico’s ocean floor. Preserved marine fossils are present in the facade.
The cathedral contains a number of paintings and frescoes. Most are copies of original works that can be found in cathedrals around Rome and various museums. The side chapels contain copies of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, both Baroque artists. Above the main and relatively austere altar are three fading frescoes by Italian artist Giuseppe Perovani, a neoclassical artist who was commissioned by Bishop Juan José Díaz de Espada y Fernánez de Landa to paint three scenes: The Delivery of the Keys, The Last Supper and The Ascension. A large statue of St. Christopher, The cathedral stands within the area of Old Havana that UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site in 1982.
# 3 Revolution Square in Cuba
The Square of Revolution is both Cuba’s history symbol and the place where it is still being made. Here, Castro has addressed millions of Cubans on a wide number of occasions, and there is also situated the home of Cuba’s National Theater. Few icons along Havana’s landscape have quite the history and story to tell as Revolution Square, and for those lucky enough to visit the island, no Cuba educational trip can be complete without a tour of all that the plaza has to offer.
The Square of Revolution has many unique things and landmarks, for example the magnificent Jose Marti Memorial. This wonderful tower is 109 meters, and from the top, visitors can see the absolutely breathtaking view of the city. In front of the tower is a sculpture of Marti, who is famed as a writer, poet, and hero of Cuba.
Another of the square’s most iconic sculptures actually comprises the entire side of the Ministry of the Interior since 1993. ” Towards Victory Forever” is a a 16 tones sculpture by Cuban artist Enrique Avila, of the famed revolutionary Che Guevara.
The simple yet powerful lines of the sculpture are inspired by the very handwriting of Ernesto Che Guevara himself. The wall containing the sculpture encases Guevara’s office which, although not allowed to be toured by the public, is said to be fully intact and entirely untouched.
The third sculpture in the square is that of Camilo Cienfuegos, perhaps best known as Fidel Castro’s confidant during the Cuban Revolution. Beside this sculpture, visitors can read the words “You are doing Fidel” in Cienfuegos’ own handwriting.
# 2 Museo Memoria De la Ciudad in Cuba
The Museum of the Revolution is a museum located in the Old Havana section of Habana, Cuba. The museum is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista. It became the Museum of the Revolution during the years following the Cuban Revolution.
The museum’s Cuban history exhibits are largely devoted to the period of the revolutionary war of the 1950s and to the country’s post-1959 history. Portions of the museum are also devoted to pre-revolutionary Cuba, including its War of Independence waged against Spain.
Behind the building lies the Granma Memorial, a large glass enclosure which houses the Granma, the yacht which took Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries from Mexico to Cuba for the revolution. Around the Granma an SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile of the type that shot down a U.S. Lockheed U-2 spyplane during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the engine of the U-2 airplane is displayed. There are also various vehicles and tanks used in the revolution displayed. Near the museum is located an SU-100, a Soviet tank destroyer.
# 1 Old Havana in Cuba
In Old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, the past is saved in today. Samba and salsa riffs roll through quaint cobbled squares, retro cars crawl the streets, and historic forts, museums, and carefully restored architectural buildings share the history that shaped this grand city. For a sensory feast, Old Havana is best explored while walking. Meander along the narrow lanes, speak to the locals, climb the Spanish-built fortresses, feel the music, and savor a coffee at one of the charming plazas where Cuban Baroque meets Art Nouveau.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed many structures in Old Havana, overturning years of conservation work directed at the iconic antiquated buildings of the area. Not only did it damage historic buildings, but it forced many of Old Havana’s residents to flee for safety. The threats that hurricanes pose adds to an already tenuous state for Old Havana’s many historic buildings. Age, decay, and neglect combine with natural factors in a complex set of threats to the long-term preservation of this historic old town.