Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1982
Size of heritage: 143 ha

Longitude: -81,650°
Latitude: 23,133°


Havana was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean's main centres for ship-building. Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants, its old centre retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.

Location on Map

Show bigger map on Openstreetmap

Old Havana and its Fortification System

Old Havana and its Fortification System is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Province of Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba. This historic area encompasses the old city of Havana, which was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and served as a strategic port for the Spanish Empire in the New World.

The history of Old Havana dates back to 1519 when it was established as a Spanish settlement. Over the centuries, it grew into a bustling city with a rich architectural and cultural heritage. The fortification system, consisting of walls, forts, and other defensive structures, was built to protect the city from pirate attacks and foreign invasions.

The fortification system of Old Havana is a remarkable example of military architecture from the colonial period. It includes iconic structures such as the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, and the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro. These fortresses were strategically positioned to defend the city and its harbor.

Throughout its history, Old Havana has witnessed significant events that shaped the destiny of Cuba. It was a key port for the Spanish treasure fleets, which transported vast amounts of gold and silver from the New World to Spain. The city also played a crucial role in the transatlantic slave trade, with thousands of African slaves passing through its harbor.

During the 19th century, Old Havana experienced a period of economic prosperity, becoming one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas. This led to the construction of magnificent buildings, including palaces, churches, and theaters, which still stand today as a testament to the city's grandeur.

However, in the 20th century, Old Havana faced significant challenges. The Cuban Revolution in 1959 brought about political and social changes that had a profound impact on the city. Many wealthy residents fled, leaving behind neglected buildings and a deteriorating urban fabric.

In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Old Havana was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. This designation aimed to preserve and restore the city's architectural heritage and promote sustainable development.

Since then, extensive restoration efforts have been undertaken to revitalize Old Havana. The restoration projects have focused on preserving the city's colonial architecture, improving infrastructure, and promoting tourism. Today, Old Havana is a vibrant and lively district, attracting visitors from around the world with its charming plazas, colorful buildings, and rich cultural heritage.

Old Havana and its Fortification System stands as a living testimony to the history and cultural diversity of Cuba. It serves as a reminder of the city's colonial past and its role as a strategic port in the New World. With its ongoing restoration efforts, Old Havana continues to thrive as a UNESCO World Heritage site, preserving its unique charm for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Videos from the area

16 de Abril 2011 VIVA CUBA

Published: July 09, 2011
Length: 28:30 min
Rating: 0 of 5
Author: tenerife1124

16 de Abril de 2011.

Videos provided by Youtube are under the copyright of their owners.