A stunning diversity of 19th and 20th century masterpieces
Its diverse architecture is a reflection of its rich history from Colonial and Baroque to Neo-Classical, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Eclectic, and Modern with a dash of post revolutionary Soviet Tower blocks in the Brutalism style!
At the turn of the 20th Century, Havana was the grandest and most important city in Latin America. Parque Central, our Havana hotel is in Havana Vieja (Old Havana) surrounded by important buildings such as the railway terminal (1912) and the Capitolio (1926-1929), both examples of the eclectic style. The Capitolo (seen above) is an exact half size replica of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The 62 meter high dome is the highest point in the city and an example of the influence and wealth of the U.S. at that time. The Edificio Bacardi (1930) which can be seen from the roof top of our hotel, is one of Havana’s grandest buildings and an extraordinary example of Art Deco. We will visit Havana’s neighborhoods to explore the city’s remarkable buildings. Vedado with its gorgeous mansions reflects the great wealth of the city in its pre- revolutionary days including, the Universidad de la Habana (1906 -1940) and the Lopez Serrano building (1932) by Ricardo Mira which was the first tall building in Cuba. Inspired by New York’s Rockefeller Center, the building’s influence on design influence can be seen in many buildings in Miami and Los Angeles. And we'll see the Hotel Riviera built by mobster Meyer Lansky, just one year before the Revolution which reflects the influence of the Mafia pre-1959. The lush streets of Miramar were laid out on the American grid pattern and its extraordinary houses were home to diplomats and foreigners and in Cubanacan we will see “Mega mansions”, the homes of those who left in the early days of the revolution, many of which are now the homes of international diplomats. Cuba is proud of its great architectural treasures and its architects are involved in the city’s preservation efforts. You will learn about the architecture of Cuba from renowned architects and scholars who are trying to balance the need for restoration of Cuba’s extraordinary buildings with the need for housing for Cuba’s citizens. One of these experts is Dr. Mario Coyula Cowley, an architect, architectural historian and authority on the preservation of Havana’s buildings. Dr. Coyula served as a Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor from 2002-2003 in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University. He has been a full professor at the Faculty of Architecture of Havana University since 1964 and recipient of prizes such as the National Award of Architecture (2001), National Habitat Award (2004), and Académico de Mérito (2011). He is a co-author of the 2002 book Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis (University of North Carolina) with Roberto Segre and Joseph L. Scarpaci, Jr.