Havana was established in 1514 on the southern coast of the islands that today make up the city of Batabanó. In 1519 San Cristóbal de la Habana was moved to its current place. Due to its characteristics as a port city and its location at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, it quickly became an important commercial and communication center between the old and the new world.
That extraordinary development made the Spanish authorities decide to change the capital from Santiago de Cuba in eastern Cuba to Havana in 1553.
In the 18th century, Havana was the third largest city in the so-called New World. Constantly attacked by pirates, the metropolis was forced to build the largest defensive system in America. As part of it, Havana was surrounded by a wall that protected the city.
The Spanish built a majestic city with sophisticated architecture, narrow streets, elegant squares, colossal palaces and beautiful avenues, exquisite interior courtyards, stained glass windows.
Many eclectic buildings were lifted, full of gold and silver which constituted true art work, among them is the Convento de Belén, Convento de Santa Clara, la Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesús, y la Iglesia del Santo Custodio.
Other examples of majestic creativity and great value are the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, which was the seat of colonial governments, the La Catedral with neoclassical interiors and its marvelous Baroque architecture.
The heart of the old section begins with the Plaza de Armas, whose location is linked to the tradition of the first town hall, while the first mass was held on November 16, 1519, when the town was founded under a thick ceiba tree whose religious ceremony is still practiced to date.
The historic city center has some 140 buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries and another 200 from the 18th century and more than 460 from the 19th century that make up a mix of attractions for all demanding tastes. The centennial city preserves distinctive features such as the famous Prado Avenue and the well-known Alameda de Paula, which was built during the second half of the 18th century, both famous in their time.
Old Havana still has the beauty of the days before with a modern twist. In the mid-19th centuries, the expansion of the city began, the city walls were opened and new neighborhoods were created to the west. At this time the Paseo del Prado, El Capitolio and the Great Theater of Havana and Central Park were built. All these wonderful places are witnesses of the elegance of the colonial city known as Old Havana, one of the most eclectic architectural mix of the new world, where a variety of styles coexist truly exponent of colonial architecture in America, making Old Havana declared Heritage of Humanity declared by UNESCO in 1982.
The nights of Havana are very colorful and exquisite. Music and dance are capable of enchanting and attracting all those who love the sounds of Cuban rhythms. There are many musical genres that can be enjoyed in Havana. Countless places will serve as the setting for the enjoyment of live Cuban music that will be an unforgettable experience.