Gohabana Travels

Arms Square

This was the first of the squares built in the Old City; its construction is dated at the end of the 16th Century. This was first known as the Church Square, because in that area was located the Parish Church, but it got fire in an unfortunate accident. After this, the square was used with military purposes, like parades and arms expositions, so everyone started to call it Arms Square. Where the Parish Church stood was built the Palace of the General of the Army.To the north of the square is located one of the most important fortress built by Spaniards: The Royal Force. In the center of the square was placed a statue of King Ferdinand II, but in 1955 it was changed for the statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, father of all Cubans because he was the first in freeing his slaves to fight for Cuba independence, giving birth with this act the Cuban revolutionary process.

San Francisco de Asís Square

This was the second of the most relevant 4 squares in the village. It was built almost at the same time that Arms, and has this name because of the gorgeous and magnificent monastery that was finished there in the 18th Century. This square was very close to the bay, what lead to the commerce, exportations and overseas merchandise. Thanks to this, the economic life of the village gains importance and in the square is where the market is held; perhaps one of the things that influenced this was the foundation in the area near this square of the Customs House. During the 17th Century this was the most popular square, given the fact that Arms was much compromised with the Royal Force Castle.

Cathedral Square

This square constitutes one of the most interesting places to visit due to its vast history. First, it was known as the Swamp Square, since it was, centuries ago a very marshy and uninhabitable where only a fountain to provide water for the ships and livestock was. But history wants to turn this square into one of the most important of the time when in 1778 began the restoration of the church of the Friars of Jesus Company, to turn it into the Cathedral of Havana, built in baroque style. The square today has its name and it´s surrounded by mansions of the colonial nobility in the Havana of the 18th Century; among those we could mention the house of the earls of Casa Bayona from 1720, which are nowadays the Museum of Colonial Arts and the mansion of Marquis of Aguas Claras.

Old Square

This was the last square in being built, by the end of the 17th Century and was the only one that was not built with religious purposes, unlike the rest, above mentioned. The objective for its construction was to move the market held in San Francisco de Asís square here, because friars could not hold mass properly and they were complaining for this. First, it was known as New Square, but as the years passed by the square got deteriorated and this made its neighbors move out. Once the richest neighbors no longer lived there by the beginnings of the 20th Century, the square fell into oblivion. In 1908 the square is turned into a park, and then into an underground parking lot. It has now its original appearance, after its latest restoration.

Revolution Square

This square is not located in the old town, but in the municipality of the same name, in new Havana. It is considered one of the biggest of the world with 72 thousands square meter. It was constructed before the triumph of the Revolution, just like the buildings that surround it, but it is called of the Revolution because it is the biggest place for political parades on important days such as May 1st, or Independence Day. From here the Pope Juan Pablo II, in his visit to Cuba in 1998 said mass to the Cuban people. The square is surrounded by the National Library José Martí, the biggest of the country; the Ministry of Communications, that has in its façade the outline of Camilo Cienfuegos; the Ministry of the Interior, easily recognized for the outline of Che in its façade; and the National Theater of Cuba. To the south of the square is located a monument to José Martí, our national hero - a museum, also worthy to visit.

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