Hostess City by nature, Havana offers itself between waves and sun, sustained by endless columns under infinite portals and by the love that almost fills all the spaces of its inhabitants. It impresses the visitor the intense contrast of something stopped in time, classic, together with the perpetual movement of its character of gregarious and cosmopolitan city, ready for changes, kind and cheerful, full with color, boundless of sounds or silences.
At the other side of its horizon, the beaches of havana are waiting for you. The tropical fantasies can lead those who don't know it, to dream of it as the common place of palms, maracas, warm passions and eternal escapes; but reducing Havana to the simplicity of a Caribbean myth means denying it the true essence of its greatness, its soul and support.
The Malecón , that long line of sea breezes and kisses of lovers that separates the city from the sea, unites in a single face the three faces with which Havana is presented. The first is that of the ancient and port Old Havana, surrounded by the stone walls of its fortresses that are impressive bastions still today. It is followed by Center Havana, animated by dozens of trading establishments, cars of epoch that refuse to suffer the sad luck of dinosaurs, and distinguished buildings like old ancestry ladies that, in spite of their wrinkles, conserve the charm and nobility And Modern Havana, upper classy with the stylized buildings and aristocratic hotels of the fifties; and the layout of long and luminous streets that go west, where the elegant houses and estates of 5th Avenue, satisfied the pharaonic impulses of their opulent residents of the past.
There are plenty of options in Havana at present to satisfy the expectations of the active visitor, particularly those of recreational and cultural nature that have grown in splendor in the last years, with indispensable places that the traveler should visit to feel that he has truly known the Cuban capital.
Life for the inhabitants of the old part of the city is greatly marked by the rhythm of its squares, full with people at dawn or in the afternoon, and almost deserted during the torrid noon hours, when sunrays fall perpendicularly to the city. Cathedral Square (Plaza de la Catedral) is likewise, where the church monopolizes the entire protagonist role with its prodigious Baroque facade of the XVIII century, among lineage colonial mansions, turned into well known museums today. The Weapons Square (Plaza de Armas), in spite of its belligerent name of the past, transmits the walker a deep sensation of peace, for its abundant frond and gardens that conform an oasis amid the stone-paved streets and the superb seating of the palaces that surround it.
With the charm of a unique fountain where lions, tamed by the waters, distill the virtue of Carrara marble; San Francisco's Square (Plaza de San Francisco) maintains the balance between the bronze Mercury that runs mischievous in the height of the Commodity Exchange Building (Lonja del Comercio) and the tower of the church, that was the highest in the city around the XVIII century and fights to maintain its visual preponderance.
The Old Square (Plaza Vieja) exhibits the exclusivity of having the oldest columns and big portals of the city, with which it appeased the inconstant climate of the tropic, sometimes torrid and sometimes rainy. Generalized in the urban landscape with the course of time, these portals are part of Havana personality, without which it would be impossible to conceive the existence of Havana itself.
And among so many sacred stone, an ancient inn reached the category of temple of the Creole food. "La Bodeguita del Medio", crossed in the Empedrado street, four steps away from The Cathedral, is the place for gastronomic cult and pilgrimage of any famous personality visiting Havana in the last fifty years. Marlene Dietrich adored it, and Luis Miguel Dominguín used to tell hisfeats the bullring there, among sips of rum with ice and mint, in the hind ethylic cor bination of that cochtail called "Mojito".
Not very far from here, where Obispo Street finishes or begins, as y are coming or leaving toward the disappeared doors of Monseirate; another ch racter established a legend, between eventual musses and libations of frost Daiquirtes. Ernest Hemingway, during his lingering stay at Ambos Mundos hotel , didn't stop to converge for one day to the Floridita bar, leaving evidence for all times in several of his novels.
Crossing the hidden buried foundations of the walls, you arrive at the most populated park in the city, Central Park (Parque Central). Its current aspect dates to 1926, when the near National Capitol was inaugurated, worh tl also contemplated the remodeling of the whole Paseo del Prado, the Campo Marte and the construction of the new Central Railroad Station. Until today, The National Capitol conserves the record of being the most complex architectural work in Cuba in all times. Erected as headquarters of the House of Representatives and the Senate, it stands out for its dome that reaches 94 m of height. The statue of "The Republic". In the "Salón de los Pasos Perdidos", is the third biggest in world indoors, with more than 17 m of height and 49 tons of weight. Its inter is magnificent, richly decorated with fine bronzes, marbles and onyxes, fancy woods and gold.