Cuba for

Architecture

Cuba’s astonishing architecture spans five centuries in an eclectic amalgam of styles, with the colourful streetscape mixing classical aristocractic mansions, 1950s Modernist ice-cream parlours, Art Deco office buildings and more.

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t The Moorish exterior of the Casa de Diego Velázquez

Mudéjar Marvel

The Moorish influence on early colonial architecture can be seen in Cuba’s oldest building, the Casa de Diego Velázquez. Take a guided tour of this building, which was built in 1530, to see its exquisite details up close.

Set in Stone

The delicate caryatids, marble adornments, and organ pipe–inspired balconies and window grills on the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, built in 1915, are an eclectic Cuban version of Baroque. To fully appreciate the building, take a guided tour of the show-stopping interior, which has been the set for many performances over the years.

Astounding Art Deco

Appearing to be assembled using Lego® bricks, Havana’s towering Edificio Bacardí was built in 1930 as the headquarters of the famous rum corporation. It is one of Cuba’s most striking Art Deco edifices, and it’s seen as an icon of the city – particularly its bell tower, which you can ascend (for a fee) to look over the capital.

Modernist Masterpiece

Built by mobster Meyer Lansky in 1957, Havana’s Hotel Riviera is a fabulous example of mid-century Modernism with its perfectly preserved lobby. You don’t have to stay here to see inside; simply visit one of the bars. Don’t miss the coffin-shaped pool.

Colonial Grandeur

The capital’s grandiose Palacio de los Capitanes Generales in La Habana Vieja was built in 1791. Its sturdy coral- stone exterior is an example of the colonial Baroque style. Inspired by classical aesthetics, it’s fronted by a broad loggia, providing shade.

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Insider Tip

A Bacardí Bar

Although Edificio Bacardí is not officially open to the public, head to its wood-panelled mezzanine bar for a tipple and a peek inside.

Cuba for Architecture

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Colonial building features

Alfarje

Moorish ceiling with heavy, star-patterned crossbeams.

Entresuelo

The lower mezzanine level of a home. It used to be where domestic servants slept.

Reja

Eighteenth-century decorative metal window grill.

Mampara

A half-length double swing door for rooms.

Zaguán

Entrance hallway large enough for carriages to pass through.

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