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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Tourism and Culture in Havana

Havana, the tourist destination par excellence in Cuba, stands out for its historic and cultural values which are complemented by the city’s hotel infrastructure and the proximity of beach areas.

Urban tourism options are especially attractive in Havana where almost 140 buildings located in the city’s historic heart date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, while 200 were built in the 18th century and more than 460 in the 19th century.

The city also preserves distinctive places, of inevitable traffic by residents and visitors, like the famous Paseo del Prado and the renowned Alameda de Paula which was built on the second half of the 18th century.

Together with leisure and gastronomic offers, the city is famous for holding emblematic facilities such as the Gran Teatro de La Habana (Havana’s Grand Theater), one of the most important institutions of its kind in Latin America.

Initially, the Tacón Theater, built in 1838, was named after the Captain General Miguel de Tacón y Rosique, governor of Cuba between 1834 and 1838.

The facility was designed by the architect Antonio Mayo in a predominantly eclectic style with 90 boxes, more than 20 rows and capacity for 2,000 people.

Paula Church
Alameda de Paula (Paula Promenade)
View of Alameda de Paula

According to experts, it was the largest and most luxurious theater in the Americas for a long time and, due to its technical characteristics it was the third theater in the world after La Scala of Milan and the Vienna Opera House.

Several famous artists such as Fanny Elssler in 1841 and Sarah Bernhardt in 1887 performed at the theater, as well as outstanding personalities like the tenor Enrico Caruso, the flamenco dancers Carmen Amaya and Antonio Gades; and the musicians Arthur Rubinstein and Serguei Rachmaninov.

The Gran Teatro de La Habana (Havana’s Grand Theater), opened in 1914, was designed by the Belgian architect Paul Beleu; the theater has several halls (one of the is the García Lorca hall) for shows, concerts, lectures and video exhibitions; as well as galleries for visual arts, a choral center and several rehearsal halls for dance groups and dancers.

The theater, famous for its acoustics and architectonic beauty, is the venue of the National Ballet of Cuba.

In addition, the theater also hosts the season presentations of the National Lyric Theater of Cuba with its operas, zarzuelas, operettas and concerts; as well as the presentations of the Spanish Ballet Cuba and the Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba.

The institution was built in a neo-baroque style based on constructions of the European baroque architecture which includes abundant stone carvings and sculptures.

The building’s façade has four groups of sculptures in white marble representing allegories to Charity, Education, Music and Theater; all created by Giuseppe Moretti.

Thus, the theater stands out as a particular element in Havana, a city also called the Threshold of West Indies and the Key to the New World, which currently represents a living museum of the most diverse construction styles that portray its different development stages.

Centro Gallego-Great Theater of Havana
Places of Interest

Paseo del Prado e/ San Rafael y San José

La Habana
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