1. Hotel Habana Riviera
3. National Hotel
4. University of Havana
5. Christopher Columbus Cemetery
6. Revolution Square
7. Museum of the Revolution
8. Fine Arts Museum
9. Old Havana
10. Centro Cultural Antiguos (Market)
I was able to mark most of the important places we visited on the map of Havana. We visited many different parts of Havana, and even some that were farther away such that I couldn’t put them on the map. The overall structure of the city was difficult, but interesting to look at over the course of the week.
The first thing I noticed often was the structure of the roads. They got bumpier when we were outside the city, but were smoother on the highways and when we were in the city. The roads in Old Havana were nice too. I think it was in Old Havana where there was the one street made of wood because the president’s wife would complain about hearing people go over the cobblestone streets.
The most interesting thing to look at in terms of structure was the preservation of the buildings in Old Havana. It was impressive how well a lot of those buildings held up, especially the extremely old forts. It showed how much the people care about their history and culture that they work so hard to preserve the buildings. I was impressed to hear about the school in Old Havana that teaches restoration techniques and helps people get jobs in restoring and preserving the buildings. I also thought it was great that the primary school has workshops to get kids interested in it as well.
The second night there presented another part of Havana to look at structurally, which is the Malecón. It rained on Saturday and by afternoon the waves were crashing and then coming up onto the Malecón. The flooding was truly impressive and so extensive that those of us who went out walking around Saturday night were wading through water a good distance from where the water was coming up over the ledge. The closed down the Malecón at some point because of water, but traffic didn’t seem to be overly affected in other areas. It makes me think that they are used to flooding, which makes sense since Cuba is an island, but that they know what to do when flooding happens are have the structure in place to avoid anything worse.
The architecture within Havana is unique and interesting. There are a lot of large, older buildings, some more run-down sections like what we saw in the film Sergio and Sergei, and a few more modern looking buildings. Over toward Old Havana, there are old forts and other buildings from a long time ago. The contrasting architecture was one of my favorite things about the city. It was obvious that there were many architectural influences over time. It was also interesting to see how many individual buildings were in disrepair even if the area as a whole didn't seem to be. There were a lot of apartment buildings that at first glance appeared to be uninhabited, but if you looked closer there was laundry outside drying or a person sitting in a chair.
Overall, Havana was not completely what I expected it to be. I knew there were different architectural influences, but I didn’t know how well mixed and integrated they would be throughout the city. I knew the buildings in Old Havana would be older, but for many I could never have imagined how old and it was interesting to see the distinct progress in which buildings had been restored and which were still waiting. The city as a whole seemed to run smoothly and everything worked together to create a unique culture and environment. I really hope I get the chance to go back one day and explore some more.