Fuerte el morro: San Juan National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

El Morro Fort — Etsy.de

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El morro — Academic Kids

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Christ of Havana, historical forts and around the Capitol

The Capitol in Havana is the building of the Cuban Parliament, was built in 1929 and performed its functions until 1959.

Havana Christ. The 20-meter majestic statue of the Christ of Havana was built from 67 blocks of Carrara marble, with a total weight of about 320 tons. This masterpiece was created by Cuban sculptor Hilma Madera. The sculpture was brought from Italy and consecrated by Pope Pius XII. The statue is located in the Havana suburb of Casablanca (Regla municipality) and faces the city. The monument was inaugurated on December 24, 1958 years, two weeks before the entry of the rebel army of Fidel Castro into Havana. On the same day, lightning struck the statue and damaged it, but it was subsequently restored.

The statue is located on a high hill (51 m above sea level) facing the city. The observation deck offers a panoramic view of the city blocks.

The first settlement in Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1519. In 1555, when the city was not yet sufficiently fortified, it was attacked by French pirates. The governor of Havana and many residents fled, and the invaders, after a short siege of the fortress, burned the city and desecrated the temples. After this incident, it was decided to build powerful fortress walls and defensive structures. Fortresses were built at the entrance to the bay: on the eastern shore — El Morro (1589-1630) and lighthouse (1845) and La Cabaña , on the west — La Punta and La Fuerza (1555-1577). On one of the bastions of La Fuerza, there is a small tower with a bell, on the dome of which there is a weather vane in the form of a female figure with a banner in her hands. This is one of the symbols of the city — Giraldilla. Thanks to its fortifications, Havana has become a relatively safe port in the Caribbean. And the Spanish king ordered to make it the main transit point on the way from Europe to the West Indies. Pirates no longer attempted to attack the city, but only carried out attacks on ships in its vicinity.

El Morro Colonial Fortress (Fortress of the Magi, Castillo de los Tres) protects the entrance to Havana Bay. The name of the fort refers to the three biblical wise men, and according to another version, it means a rock that is clearly visible from the sea, that is, it is an important navigational landmark. The fortresses in Santiago de Cuba and in San Juan (Puerto Rico) bear the same name.
The fort is located on the opposite side of the harbor from Old Havana and overlooks the sea for miles. The fortress was built by the Spaniards in 1589year to repel the British attacks on Havana. Subsequently, it was rebuilt several times. In 1845, a 25-meter lighthouse was built above the fortress wall, which serves as the vertical dominant of the architectural ensemble.

The fortress received its baptism of fire during the Seven Years’ War, in 1762, when the English expeditionary troops landed in Cojimar Bay east of Havana and attacked the fortress from the land side, captured one of the bastions and the fort fell. When the British returned the island to Spain in 1763, a new fortress, La Cabaña, was built to prevent another attack on El Morro from land.

Inside the castle there is now an exhibition dedicated to the lighthouses of Cuba (in El Morro there used to be a school for lighthouse keepers). The cannons around the fort are now rusty, but the walls are well preserved. The fort has barracks on four floors and the premises of the commandant of the port and fortress. A plaque commemorating the British siege of Havana in 1762 and a small memorial are located between two gunpowder stores in the northeast bastion.

Castle of San Carlos de la Cabaña (Spanish: La Cabaña, full name Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña) was built in the 18th century on the east coast at the entrance to the harbor of Havana. The construction of the fortress began in 1763 at the direction of the King of Spain, Charles III. after the city was captured by the British a year earlier. As soon as Cuba again passed into Spanish possession as a result of an exchange for Florida, it was decided to strengthen the defense.

This took into account miscalculations in the fortification of the earlier 16th century fortress of El Morro, erected at the entrance to the city harbor. The citadel was poorly defended from the coast with high hills, which led to the surrender of the garrison. San Carlos de la Cabaña became the largest colonial military installation in the New World at the time of completion (1774). Construction was controlled by the Spanish colonial authorities and cost a significant amount of money from the state treasury.

In addition to military purposes, the fortress was used as a prison for many years, including during the Batista regime. In January 1959, the fortress was captured by rebels led by Che Guevara and served as the headquarters of the leader of the Cuban Revolution for several months. During his five-month tenure as commandant of the fortress, Che Guevara presided over the revolutionary tribunal and executions of war crimes suspects, political prisoners, traitors, informants, and former members of Batista’s secret police.

Currently, the fortress is part of a historical park (together with El Morro), some buildings house museums, including the Museum of Ancient Tools and the Che Guevara Commandant’s Museum.

View from the El Morro fortress to the Malecon.

In the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, a theatrical show is held every day at 21:00 — a guard-raising ritual, which ends with a shot from a cannon. During a crowded show, you need to be careful and watch your things, pickpockets sometimes work here.

All guards are wearing Spanish military uniforms from the middle of the 18th century, and when the last of them is replaced at his post, at exactly 21.00 the fuse of the cannon is lit and a shot rumbles.

Image from the Internet.


On the territory of the fortress there is a museum of ancient weapons with throwing installations.


Cannons on the embankment near the walls of the fortress.

View from the fortress walls of the fort to the evening Havana.

Illuminated dome of the Capitol is clearly visible.

Capitol in Havana — the building of the Cuban Parliament, was built in 1929 and performed its functions until 1959. It is currently used as a congress center and is open to visitors. The Capitol also houses the headquarters of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment and the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

The swampy lands where the Havana Capitol was later built were inhabited by slaves during the Spanish colonization. Later, in 1817, a botanical garden was laid out.

Construction of the building began in 1926, and the opening ceremony of the new government building took place on May 20, 1929, Cuba’s Independence Day.

The building has Renaissance architectural features, its external appearance resembles both the building of the American Capitol in Washington and St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.

In 2010, an extensive restoration of the building with the help of Russia began, which was completed in November 2019 on the day of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Havana. Russian restorers have carried out work to restore the golden plating of the dome of the building, as well as the statue of the Republic — a gilded female sculpture over 18 meters high, which is the third largest statue in the world among the statues located inside buildings. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, during his visit to Moscow, presented Friendship medals to Russian specialists who participated in the restoration.

An allegorical female image by the Italian sculptor Angelo Zanelli inside the building symbolizes the Republic of Cuba (imitation of the statue of Athena by Phidias, which was in the Parthenon). The model for the sculpture was Lily Valti, a resident of Havana. The halls currently used for conferences were named after places associated with the history of Cuba’s liberation struggle against Spanish domination.

Massive bronze doors of the Capitol are decorated with reliefs depicting scenes from the history of Cuba, starting from its discovery by Columbus in 1492 years and up to the construction period of the building.
The Capitol has a kilometer zero mark, which is symbolically adorned with a brilliant 25-carat diamond placed under the dome of the Capitol. The diamond belonged to the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Nicholas II. The diamond was brought to Havana by a Turkish jeweler who bought it in Paris. Despite the fact that the diamond lay under impenetrable glass, it was stolen in 1946 and returned to the Capitol only a year later. In 1973, the diamond was replaced with a copy and for security reasons and is stored in the safe of the Central Bank of Cuba.

Located near the Capitol , the Great Theater of Havana was inaugurated in the spring of 1838. But the building that the theater occupies now was built only in 1915 by a Belgian from Transylvania. This is a wonderful example of colonial baroque, which is so rich in the capital of Cuba. The new theater building at the corner of Prado Boulevard and San Rafael Street was built with funds from immigrants from Galicia. A German Baroque masterpiece of stone and marble has appeared, with an ornate façade adorned with sculptural sculptures allegorically representing Theatre, Music, Education and Charity. A wide beautiful marble staircase leads to the second tier, and the seats were upholstered in expensive red velvet. For a long time the theater was called the Tacon Theatre, but at 19In 85, at the suggestion of Alicia Alonso, the famous prima ballet, he received the name of the Bolshoi. The Havana Bolshoi Theater is one of the largest in the world, the main hall is designed for one and a half thousand seats. Anna Pavlova and Maya Plisetskaya, Enrico Caruso and Arthur Rubinstein, Sarah Bernhardt and Ole Bull shone on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. It has also hosted distinguished ballet companies from all over the world. Officially, the Bolshoi Theater is considered the home of the national Cuban ballet, some rooms in it are occupied by dance centers, ballet school courses and a music center.

The annual international ballet festival takes place at the Bolshoi Theater in October, the Spanish ballet seasons in August. Since 2012, the theater has undergone restoration.

Opposite the theater is a small Central Park, opened in 1877. In 1899, for the first time in Cuba, electric street lighting lamps were lit. In 1905, a monument was erected to the national hero of Cuba, the fighter for independence, the poet Jose Marti.

The National Museum of Fine Arts is the largest art museum in Cuba. The museum was founded in 1913, and since 1953 is in the Palace of Fine Arts. On a total area of ​​more than 7 thousand m², about 1.2 thousand paintings, sculptures, graphic and jewelry works from the times of the ancient world to the present, masters of Europe and America, as well as Cuban art, from the colonial period to the era building socialism.

Peter Rubens

Another monument to the national hero José Marti at the beginning of the Paseo del Prado boulevard, opened in the 1770s. In the past, it was a popular place for horse rides of the aristocracy. Here, artists exhibit paintings, sell a variety of souvenirs.

Monumento Maximo Gomez. A pretentious, monumental-classical monument, combining marble and bronze, to the fighter for independence, the commander of the people’s liberation army, General Maximo Gomez, in front of the entrance to the harbor of Havana, was erected in the 30s of the last century on the 100th anniversary of his birth, in those years, when the recently rebuilt Malecon was already loved and popular among the inhabitants of Havana.

Maximo Gomez y Baez (1836 — 1905) — one of the leaders of the national liberation struggle of the Cuban people, was born in the city of Bani (Dominican Republic).

Trained as an officer in the Spanish Army at the Military Academy of Zaragoza. Participated on the side of Spain with the rank of colonel in the war of conquest against the Dominican Republic (1861-1865). After the Spaniards were defeated and, by order of Queen Isabella II, left the Dominican Republic in 1865, he moved to Cuba with his family and retired.

After the overthrow of Queen Isabella II in Spain in September 1868, an uprising broke out in Cuba. Maximo Gomez joined the rebel army and soon became a general. In particular, he taught the rebels the tactics of battle with a machete. He won a number of major victories over the Spaniards and emigrated at the end of the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878).

April 14, 1895, along with other associates, José Martí landed in Cuba in the province of Oriente and led the Liberation Army as commander in chief. Although the clashes with the Spanish troops were for the most part unsuccessful for the rebels, and in one of them the main organizer of the uprising, José Marti, was killed, nevertheless, the uprising spread widely, and the number of its supporters reached 6 thousand people.
The uprising was close to defeat, but on April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain and soon drove the Spaniards out of the Philippines and Cuba. After the Spanish–American War and the U. S. occupation of Cuba in January 1899, Máximo Gómez agreed to the dissolution of the Liberation Army and retired to his villa near Havana. In 1901, he turned down an offer to stand as a candidate for the presidency, although he was expected to win the election unopposed.

Monument to the Cuban engineer Francisco de Alber (1816-1887) in the Place de l’Alber, made of white marble. His biggest project was the construction of the Albert Aqueduct, which brings water to Havana.

Memorial Board in honor of a large financier and sugar merchant Hulio Lobo and Olavvarria (1898 — 1983). From the late 1930s until 1960, when he left Cuba, Lobo was considered the most powerful sugar broker in the world. At the time the Cuban Revolution began in 1959, his fortune was estimated at about $200 million ($1.8 billion at the rate of 2020). His assets included 14 sugar refineries, over 30,000 acres of land, a bank, an insurance company, and offices in Havana, New York, London, Madrid, and Manila.

Born in Venezuela to a Sephardic Jewish family, Lobo was raised in Havana by a Catholic mother. As a young man he studied in the United States. Subsequently, he married a wealthy bride from an old Cuban aristocratic Montalvo family. He eventually inherited his father’s trading business and built it into the world’s largest sugar trading company. A renowned art connoisseur, Lobo also acquired the largest collection of Napoleonic memorabilia outside of France (the collection is located in Havana at the Museo Napoleonico). Lobo died in Madrid on January 30, 1983 years old.

Garment factory

Despite extensive restoration work, there are still many buildings in need of repair.

Embankment of the Havana Bay with a view of Fort El Moro.

Fishing boats

Fishermen with their catch, butchering marlin. Atlantic blue (blue) marlin is common in tropical and temperate, mainly western waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The maximum body weight is 818 kg, and the length is 5 m. They have practically no natural enemies, except for a person who turned the fish into a popular object of fishing and sport fishing. The relatively high fat content of meat makes it an attractive commodity in the market.

Cuba. Island of Freedom, which did not betray the ideals of revolutions
Havana. Capital of Cuba. Colonial quarters with a woman riding a rooster
Christ of Havana, the historic forts and around the Capitol
Havana and Cuba, free from the tight embrace of US imperialism
Cuba. Santa Clara. Memorial to Che Guevara. Furious Revolutionary
Cuba. The main resort of Varadero with 9 endless sandy beaches0004
Cienfuegos . Trinidad. Southern Pearls of Cuba
To the Cuban natural paradise on a Soviet truck

Ernest Hemingway. A writer who loved life infinitely, interrupted it before Death came with a scythe
Ernest Hemingway. Antifascist writer at war and about war
Ernest Hemingway. Life in Cuba in Finca Vigia estate with wife, fishing and beloved cats


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Tags: Havana, History, Cuba, Travel


✓ Havana

Havana is one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere. It is believed that the city was founded in 1515 by the Spanish conqueror Diego Velazquez. Its tranquil beaches on the northern coast of Gibacoa, El Peñón del Fraile and Puerto Escondido, Arroyo Bermejo in the northeast and El Salado in the northwest have become the basis of tourism development. Holidays in Havana are beautiful areas where breathtaking landscapes open up to lovers of eco-tourism. This is a lot of attractions — monuments, museums, churches and cathedrals, and, of course, these are the two main symbols of Havana — the Giradilla weather vane and the lighthouse of the El Morro fortress.

Havana is located closer to the northwestern part of Cuba. The beaches of Havana are located at a considerable distance from the city (about 25 km) and are called the «Blue Ring» due to their beautiful clear water. There are 4 diving centers in Havana, where you can see sunken ships, coral colonies, and exotic fish. Just 30 minutes from the city center, Marina Hemingway hosts an annual swordfish competition.

Old Havana is an area of ​​narrow streets where traffic can only move in one direction. The bulk are low two-story houses in the Spanish style. The building of the National Capitol, the former parliament of Cuba, rises above the quarters. The symbol of the city — Giraldilla, is a small tower with a bell, towering on one of the bastions. A weather vane is rotating on the dome, made in the form of a female figurine holding a banner in her hands. La Real Fuerza Palace is the most ancient fortress preserved on the island. The achievements of the Renaissance era were involved in the construction.

In different historical epochs, Havana has changed, acquiring new features, combining new quarters and old narrow streets and grandiose buildings that have not changed since the time of the Spanish colonists. For its outstanding architecture, the city of Havana has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

✓ Varadero

Varadero is the most famous resort in Cuba. Its picturesque white sand beaches and azure waters of the Atlantic coast are among the three cleanest beaches in the world. Due to the presence of coral reefs that cover the beaches from the open ocean, there is practically no stormy sea in Varadero. Varadero is one of the most popular and environmentally friendly resorts. For locals, Varadero is a closed area intended for foreigners to relax.

The resort area is located 130 km from Havana on the Atlantic coast. Its beaches, stretching for 20 kilometers, are protected by the largest coral reef in the Caribbean. However, in addition to natural resources, there are other attractions on Varadero. Fuerte Espanyol — Spanish fort of the 19th century; the magnificent church of Iglesia de Santa Elvira, made in the colonial style; Villa Dupont, where the city museum is located; cave LaCueva de Ambrosio, famous for its Indian drawings; old Indian cemetery.

Varadero is full of life day and night. From sea and sunbathing, countless sports and water activities, there is an imperceptible transition to an evening feast, music, and dancing. At night, the resort is filled with music and fun: «Cuban nights» with national rhythms and dances are organized in restaurants, villas and hotels. Everyone who visits Varadero has a unique opportunity to admire the extraordinarily beautiful local landscapes. For all diving enthusiasts, there are about 20 specialized diving centers. Varadero also offers all tourists a world-class service in hotels, of which there are a lot.



Holguin resort is considered the most elite holiday destination in Cuba. There are practically no three-star hotels here. Holguin Province is an hour and a half flight from Cuba’s capital, Havana.

Tours to Holguín have become popular for a reason: the beaches of Playa de Esmeralda — Emerald Beach and coves such as Guardalavaca and Playa Pesquero attract tourists all year round. The nature of this resort once struck the imagination of Christopher Columbus, who was the first European to see this land and was delighted. Tropical Cuba Holguin and its picturesque surroundings seemed like paradise to Columbus. In the diary of the discoverer of America, you can read: “I have never seen such a beautiful place. The banks of the rivers are surrounded on both sides by flowering trees entwined with greenery, and such trees cannot be found in our homeland. The trees are hung with flowers and fruits, and among them numerous, very small birds chirp, pleasing to the ear. There are a lot of palm trees. I confess that at the sight of these flowering gardens and green forests, and even hearing the birds singing, I experienced such a deep joy that I simply could not immediately continue my journey.

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