The Vedado area of Havana is the most modern of all the quarters. Marked by high rises and a four lane highway, it's not the most picturesque area of Havana. That said, Vedado is the commercial hub of Havana and contains the workings of any major city downtown area such as government offices, hotels, and shops.There are several major attractions in Vedado, the most important being the monument to revolutionary hero José Martí. Also of note is the historical quarter that is marked by beautiful old homes. Getting around is best done by taxi, as distances between sights are too far to walk except for the very committed.
Plaza de la Revolucion (Jose Marti Memorial)
The Plaza de la Revolucion, formerly the Plaza Civica prior to the Revolution, is the sight of many of Havana's major historical events. In 1998, during Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba, he celebrated mass in the Plaza de la Revolucion. Castro also uses this square, which has seen over a million people crowd in here at times, as a platform for delivering speeches.In the center of the Plaza de la Revolucion is an unmistakable memorial to Jose Marti. A gray tower standing 109m / 358ft dominates the square. At the base is a large statue of Jose Marti in white marble, and below the statue is the entrance to the interior of the Jose Marti Memorial, which contains a museum on Marti. There is also a lift, which visitors can take up the tower for incredible views over the Havana.
National Theatre of Cuba
The Teatro Nacional de Cuba is a less than appealing modern building which contains two separate auditoriums, the Sala Avellaneda and the Sala Covarrubias, with a total seating capacity of approximately 3,300. This venue is used for all types of cultural events including, theatre productions, musical concerts, ballet, lectures, workshops and more. In addition to the auditoriums the Teatro Nacional de Cuba has smaller rooms used primarily for education purposes, as well as an onsite piano lounge and café.Although the building is not that exciting from a visual standpoint, the large number of productions that are held here may be of interest to visitors.
Necropolis Colon (Cementerio Colon)
There are as many graves in the Necropolis Colon as there are people in the city of Havana. This is the second largest cemetery in the world, covering 56 hectares, or more than 135 acres, and containing about 2 million graves. The Necropolis Colon, also called Cementerio Colon, was created in the 1870s and 1880s, and designed by Calixto de Loira.It is worth a visit just to see the carved tombstones, some of which are amazing pieces of art. Some of the attractions within the cemetery are the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Monument with a grand arch leading into this area that contains the remains of Revolutionary heroes, and the Falla Bonet Pantheon with a statue of Christ by Benlliure. There is also a memorial to the students killed while they were attacking the Palace of Batista's in 1957.
The Malecón (El Malecon) is a must see for every visitor. This wonderful stretch of coastline in Havana is a pleasant place to stroll and people watch. Conceived in 1901 and parts built in 1902 and beyond, the Malecon is a stroll through the history of Havana. This area runs 7km / 4mi from the Habana Vieja quarter to the Vedado and Plaza area.Along the Malecon visitors will find an assortment of well preserved 20th Century buildings that represent a mixture of architectural styles including Art Deco and Neo Moorish. The buildings are a photographer's delight as many have been painted in pastel pinks and yellows and seem to positively glow in the late afternoon sun.The Malecon is also a pleasant way to meet local inhabitants of Havana and for those who enjoy fishing, the area is a noted hotspot.
Museum of Decorative Arts
Havana's Museo De Artes Decorativas has a home befitting its extensive collection of decorative items. The building is the sumptuous former residence of Countess de Revilla de Camargo. Built in 1927, the home is done in the neo-Classical style inside and out.Highlights of the collection include fine cabinet work of 18th Century French and English furniture along with porcelain items from the Far East, including items of Baccarat, Venetian, and Catalonian crystal. A famous rug from 1772 woven by Franchis Carolus is the highlight of the exhibits, as are two paintings from Hubert Robert, The Swing and Waterfall at Tivoli.
Casa de las Americas
For art lovers touring Havana, the Casa de las Americas is a must see attraction. This institution is home to an extensive collection of Latin American paintings and graphic art from the 1960s to present day. The Casa de las Americas is housed in an Art Deco building built shortly after the Cuban Revolution. It was founded by Haydee Santamaria, one of the heroines of the armed struggle.The Casa de las Americas is located just down the way from some of Havana's modern center and some of its tallest buildings.
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