The Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the Plaza de la Revolución are two of the
main sights worth visiting in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Cuba.
In Vedado, you will also find the Cristóbal Colón Cemetery (check out my
video “Cristóbal Colón Cemetery, Havana (Cuba) – In Another Minute (317)“) and the Afro-Cuban mecca of street art and culture Callejón de Hamel, which I might feature in another video…
In this week’s video, I’d like to take you on a bit of a visual tour
of history. We start at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba (built in 1930),
drive a Cuban classic car taxi past a mural depicting the travel of the Granma yacht
(that brought the revolutionaries, including the Castro brothers,
Guevara and Cienfuegos, to Cuba in 1956 to overthrow the Batista regime)
and end at the Plaza de la Revolución, completed in 1959, the year
Fidel Castro came to power.
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was very
popular among the international rich and famous from the 1930s to the
1950s. Today, it has a fascinating mix of its old glamour on the
outside, but (supposedly) stripped down soviet-style hospitality on the
inside. All I can say is that sitting on the breezy terrace after
walking the Malecón all the way from Habana Vieja
and drinking the most refreshing daiquiri was one of the most luxurious
experiences we had in Cuba. I should also mention that the famous hotel
band Trio Los Titanes played a song for us. Usually, I can’t stand
musicians playing at my table. But right then and there, it was just
perfect. I recorded their performance in hopes of using it in this
video. But the noise of hammering in the background was too distracting
in the video (although not very noticeable at the time). At the Hotel
Nacional, you have an amazing view of the Malecón all the way to the
Castillo del Morro Castle and Lighthouse. You can also get a glimpse at
trenches and bunker entrances built during the 1962 Missile Crisis.
The Plaza de la Revolución is the large Havana square where all the big parades and events take place. It features the José Martí Memorial:
a 109 m (358 ft) tower and a statue of Martí, a Cuban hero who lived in
the mid to late 1800s. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter the
tower (though you’re supposed to have an amazing view from up there).
Famous are also the buildings for the Ministries of the Interior and
Communications because of the two big steel faces on their facades. One
shows Che Guevara, with the quotation “Hasta la Victoria Siempre” (Until the Everlasting Victory, Always); the other shows Camilo Cienfuegos, with the quotation “Vas bien, Fidel” (You’re doing fine, Fidel).
And of course, there are Cuban classic cars everywhere…
|Che Guevara on the Ministry of the Interior building
Plaza de la Revolución, Vedado, Havana, Cuba