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The city is located on La Habana (Havana) just on the island’s phibìc coast. That is the biggest city in the Caribbean region and has one the the an excellent treasuries of historic colonial preserves in the west Hemisphere. Prior to 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power, it to be a mecca because that tourists indigenous the unified States, that were drawn by the city’s plenty of attractions, which included climate and nightlife in enhancement to history. During the following years, however, in spite of its continued importance as the island’s significant economic hub, Havana shed much of its lustre, because Castro’s socialist federal government redirected the country’s resources primarily toward the development of conditions in landscape Cuba. Havana for this reason deteriorated, also though rehabilitation projects began in the 1980s. The city’s Old Havana (La Habana Vieja) district and also its fortifications were designated a UNESCO human being Heritage site in 1982. Area city (province), 281 square miles (728 square km). Pop. (2002) Old Havana, 96,753; city (province), 2,201,610; (2011 est.) Old Havana, 91,066; city (province), 2,154,454.


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Character that the city

Havana’s place along a magnificent deep-sea bay v a sheltered harbour make the city a prime place for economic development from Spanish colonial times in the early on 16th century. Cuba is endowed through a variety of such harbours, but Havana’s ~ above the north coastline was prized above the rather by the beforehand Spanish colonizers. V land top top both political parties of the harbour, the port was easily defended. The early homesteaders erected a variety of fortifications in the area that endured most invaders. In early american times Havana to be the an initial landfall for Spanish fleets coming to the brand-new World, and also it came to be a staging area, first, for the conquest of the ameri by Spanish conquistadores and, later, for the economic and political dominance of the hemisphere by Spain. The city early became a cosmopolitan centre through sprawling fortifications, cobblestone plazas, and also buildings v ornamental facades and also ornate stole balconies. Today’s Havana mixes these structures with a variety of conventional contemporary buildings.

Havana’s rich social milieu had not just Spaniards from diverse regions the the Iberian Peninsula however other European peoples as well. The little native Indian population of Cuba was no a significant factor in the Havana area and, in any type of case, was largely decimated in that early contact with the Spanish. The colonial years brought a large influx the Black servants from Africa who, after ~ the finish of enslavement in the late 19th century, started flocking to Havana. Today’s Havana is a mix that white Spanish stock, black color ethnic groups, and far-reaching mulatto strains.


City site

The city extends greatly westward and also southward native the bay, i beg your pardon is gotten in through a narrow inlet and which divides into three key harbours: Marimelena, Guasabacoa, and also Atarés. The slow Almendares river traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west that the bay.



The short hills on i m sorry the city lies increase gently from the deep blue waters the the straits. A noteworthy elevation is the 200-foot- (60-metre-) high limestone ridge that slopes up from the east and culminates in the heights the La Cabaña and El Morro, the website of colonial fortifications overlooking the bay. One more notable rise is the hill to the west the is occupied by the college of Havana and also the Prince’s Castle.


Havana, like much of Cuba, enjoys a pleasant year-round climate that is tempered by the island’s place in the belt the the trade winds and also by the heat offshore currents. Typical temperatures variety from 72 °F (22 °C) in January and also February to 82 °F (28 °C) in August. The temperature hardly ever drops below 50 °F (10 °C). Rainfall is heaviest in October and also lightest indigenous February v April, averaging 46 inches (1,167 mm) annually. Hurricanes sometimes strike the island, yet they ordinarily fight the southern coast, and also damage in Havana is typically less than somewhere else in the country.

City layout

Walls and forts were developed to defend the old city, however by the 19th century Havana had already grown beyond the initial barriers. The city first spread to the south and west. Development to the eastern was facilitated later by the construction of a tunnel under the enntrance gate to the bay; such suburbs as La Habana del Este were ultimately able to be developed.

Several large avenues and boulevards stretch throughout the city. Among the many picturesque is the Malecón, i beg your pardon extends southwestward along the coast from the harbor entrance to the Almendares River, under which it overcome via a tunnel, emerging on the other side in Miramar together Avenida Quinta. About paralleling the Malecón in the Vedado neighbourhood is Linea, another long avenue that passes under the river. Amongst other thoroughfares of note are Avenida del Puerto, Paseo Martí (or Prado), Avenida Menocal (Infanta), and also Avenida Italia.

A discussion of restoration work in Old Havana, from the documentary Curious around Cuba: The great Museums that Havana.

Contemporary Havana can basically be described as 3 cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana, through its small streets and overhanging balconies, is the traditional centre of much of Havana’s commerce, industry, and entertainment and being a residential area. The is richly endowed with historic buildings, representing architectural formats from the 16th with the 19th century. Covering some 3 square miles and hugging the harbour, Old Havana contains Spanish early american structures, towering Baroque churches, and buildings in Neoclassic style, as well as commercial property and also less pretentious residences on the fringes.

To the north and west a more recent section, centred top top the uptown area well-known as Vedado, has become the rival of Old Havana for commercial task and nightlife. This component of the city, developed largely in the 20th century, contains attractive homes, high apartments, and offices follow me wide, tree-lined boulevards and avenues. That is also the location of many hotels that before 1959 to be frequented through U.S. Tourists. Central Havana, sometimes defined as part of Vedado, is greatly a shopping ar that lies between Vedado and also Old Havana.

Old Havana
Cobblestone street in Old Havana.
Ellen Mack (A rebab.net publishing Partner)

A third Havana is that of the an ext affluent residential and also industrial districts that spread out out mainly to the west. Amongst these is Marianao, among the more recent parts of the city, dating mostly from the 1920s. Few of the suburban exclusivity was lost after the revolution, countless of the suburban houses having been expropriated by the Castro federal government to offer as schools, hospitals, and also government offices. Number of private nation clubs to be converted to public to chat centres.

From colonial times Havana has actually been noted for that is parks and plazas. Habaneros, together its occupants are called, conference day and also night under the sprawling trees of these plenty of green areas. Through colonial times and nearly to the finish of the 19th century, the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana to be the centre of Cuban life. The most famous building, perfect in 1793, is the royal residence of the Captains General, one ornate structure that housed the Spanish colonial governors and, from 1902, 3 Cuban presidents. The structure is currently a museum.

In the 1980s plenty of parts that Old Havana, including the Plaza de Armas, became part of a projected 35-year multimillion-dollar reconstruction project. The federal government sought come instill in Cubans an appreciation of their previous and also to make Havana much more enticing to tourist in accordance v the government’s initiative to boost tourism and also thus increase foreign exchange.

One the the first buildings come be revived was the Cathedral that Havana, the church that Havana’s patron saint, san Cristóbal (St. Christopher); it was constructed in the 18th century by the Jesuit order. Situated near the waterfront, the ornate facade is related to by art chroniclers as among the world’s ideal examples that Italian Baroque design. The restoration occupational left the cathedral looking much as the did as soon as originally completed.

Havana: cathedral
Cathedral that Havana.

The expansive Plaza de la Revolución, west of Old Havana, was the site of Fidel Castro’s major speeches as president, which to be delivered before crowds of, the is estimated, approximately a million citizens. The plaza is distinguished by some of the city’s most-imposing architecture. Neighboring the towering monument come José Martí, leader that Cuban independence, space such contemporary structures together the National government Centre, the headquarters of the Communist Party the Cuba and also the equipped forces, and various government ministries. In main Havana are much more traditional buildings, consisting of the white-domed former National Capitol, now real estate the Cuban Academy that Sciences; the Museum that the Revolution, housed in the old Presidential Palace; and also the national Museum the Art.

Street scene in main Havana.

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Ellen Mack (A rebab.net posting Partner)

Another restoration job was centred top top the old Spanish fortifications that dominate Havana’s harbour and, because that a time in the 17th and 18th centuries, do Havana the most-fortified city in Spanish America. The most famous and impressive of these is Morro lock (Castillo del Morro), completed in 1640. It became the centre of the network the forts protecting Havana, and, v La Punta Fortress (Castillo de la Punta), dominated the actual enntrance gate to the harbour. The earliest fortification, La Fuerza (Castillo de la Fuerza), was begun in 1565 and completed in 1583. Its website at the Plaza de Armas was that of an also older fort put up by Hernando de Soto in 1538 and also later ruined by French pirates.