Old Havana (Spanish: La Habana Vieja) is the city-center (downtown) and one of the 15 districts of Havana, Cuba
, it has the second highest population density in the city. It contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana. Old Havana is a UNESCO World
Havana Vieja was founded by the Spanish in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. In the 17th century it was one of the main shipbuilding centers. The city was built in baroque and neoclassic style. Many buildings have fallen in ruin in the later half of the 20th century, but a number are being restored. The narrow streets of old Havana contain many buildings, accounting for perhaps as many as one-third of the approximately 3,000 buildings found in Old Havana.
It is the ancient city formed from the port, the official center and the Plaza de Armas. Old Havana was destroyed and burned by the French corsair Jacques de Sores. The pirate had taken Havana easily, plundering the city and burning much of it to the ground. After limiting the scarce defenders, De Sores left without obtaining the enormous wealth that he was hoping to find in Havana. The city remained devastated and set on fire. Since the incident, the Spanish brought soldiers and started building fortresses and walls to protect the city. Castillo de la Real Fuerza was the first fortress built; initiated in 1558, the construction was overseen by the engineer Bartolomé Sanchez.
Threats to Old Havana
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.
UNESCO Heritage site
In 1982, La Habana Vieja was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A safeguarding campaign was launched a year later to restore the authentic character of the buildings.
- The Malecón is the avenue that runs along the seawall at the northern shore of Havana, from Habana Vieja to the Almendares River.
- Catedral de San Cristóbal, the most prominent building on the Plaza de la Catedral. The Cathedral was raised on the chapel after 1748 by order of the bishop from Salamanca, Jose Felipe de Trespalacios. It is one of the most beautiful and sober churches of the American baroque.
- Plaza de Armas – the main touristic square. The origin of its name is military, since from the end of the 16th century the ceremonies and the military events took place here.
- The Museum of the Revolution, located in the former Presidential Palace, with the boat Granma on display in front of the museum.
- San Francisco de la Habana Basilica, Habana Vieja, The set of church and convent of San Francisco de Asis, byline of the year 1608, and it was reconstructed in 1737.