Havana Buildings: Restoring the Old CityMany of the historical buildings are crumbling and in decay. The Old City looks like a huge open air museum. UNESCO declared Havana a
"World Heritage Site" and with the aid of Unesco over two square kilometres in the Old City were restored in collaboration with the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana represented by his chief Eusebio Leal.
A beautiful square such as Plaza Vieja (Old Square)(picture above) is almost completly restored and the restorations in the side streets are started too.
The concepts used in the restoration process were praised by independent experts and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, they were proposed as a model for the rest of Latin America.
Restoring the MaleconThe construction of the seaside boulevard began in the early 1900's and around 1920 it became the main route along Havana City with a length of over 8 kms and six lanes.
The wide promenade is also a place for Cultural and Political manifestations.
Many of the historical buildings along the Malecon are in decay and heavily exposed to influences of the sun and the nearby sea.
Several restoration projects are in execution between the Paseo del Prado and the hotel Deauville section of the Malecon.
Restoration and painting of the historical street lanterns
(left above)and restoration of the buildings along the Malecon
LOPEZ SERRANO BuildingThe first skyscraper in the city was the López Serrano building located at 13th and L streets, Vedado district. This building with twenty floors looks like a smaller copy of the Empire State Building in New York.
The building was named after José Lopez Rodriguez, a poor immigrant from Spain who arrived at the age of nineteen and became one of the major millionaires in Cuba.
FOCSA Building (1956)This big building located at 17th and M street in the Vedado district is a 35-storey complex that contains over 400 penthouses and apartments. At the top floor is the restaurant La Torre with a panoramic view over entire City. It's been said that this was the tallest building in the world at that time.
Nowdays the building is in decay and needs maintenance.
view from restaurant LA TORRE on top of the FOCSA building
BACARDI BuildingOne of the finest Art Deco buildings is located at the Avenida de Belgica (Avenue of Belgium) The Bacardi building a jewel of Cuban Architecture was longtime the highest point in the city. The building was property of Don Emilo Bacardi founder of the Bacardi Imperium and after the Revolution confiscated by the Cuban Government. In the year 2001 the building was restored with its original decorations, beautiful marbles and Cuban Art Deco accessories.
Photo: courtesy of Annie Mole
The Decline of Havana Buildings