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Colonial & Baroque

On October 28, 1492 Christopher Columbus remarked Cuba was the 'Loveliest land ever beheld by human eyes.' Great riches were brought into and through Havana as it was a key transhipment point between the new and old world. As a result Havana was the most heavily fortified city in the Americas.

Most examples of early architecture can be seen in military fortifications such as La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana (1558 - 1577) designed by Juan Antonelli and the Castillo del Morro (1589 - 1630). This sits at the entrance of Havana Bay and provides an insight into the supremacy and wealth at that time.Old Havana was also protected by a defensive wall begun in 1674 but had already overgrown its boundaries when it was completed in 1767, becoming the new neighbourhood of Centro Habana.

The influence from different styles and cultures can be seen in Havana's colonial architecture, with a diverse range of Moorish, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Roman. The Convento de Santa Clara (1638 - 18th Century) is a good example of early Spanish influenced architecture. Its great hall looks resembles an inverted ship and shows the skill of early craftsmen.

The Cathedral (1748 -1777) dominating the Plaza de la Caterdral (1749) is the best example of Cuban Baroque. Surrounding it are the Condes de Casa-Bayona (1720 -1746) Marqueses de Arcos (1746) and the Marquesas de Aguas Claras (1751 -1775).

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Convento de Santa Clara, Havana, Cuba
Plaza de la Caterdral, Havana, Cuba
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