The tour begins at the Plaza de Armas, focusing first on the history of El Templete, the tradition that exists behind the small temple since the 17th century.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Then follow the Castle of the Royal Force: This castle is part of the fortresses that were ordered to build by the captain in charge Francisco Calona to stop the attacks of pirates and corsairs against the town. The first fortress built was “La Fuerza”, in the year 1540 and then followed by “The Royal Force” in the year 1577 as pirates such as Jaques Sores managed to circumvent the defense of the first castle.
The castle preserved to this day preserves all its architecture. Inside you can find objects representative of the time, in addition to the sculpture La Giraldilla that can be found in the Cuban rum brand Havana Club. There is also a legend behind this sculpture that adds historical value, your guide can share more details.
Hotel “Santa Isabel”
As part of the tour is the visit to the hotel “Santa Isabel”. Its importance lies in the fact that it was the formal residence of the Count of Santovenia from the second half of the seventeenth century, who was famous for his immense wealth and for being the patron of magnificent parties at the time, although his neighbors complained of the stench of oil and fish that fired the main floor.
This magnificent residence was purchased by the American colonel Mr Leigh in 1867, who converted it into the Santa Isabel hotel.
National Museum of Natural History
Follow the visit in the National Museum of Natural History, which contains a whole collection of Cuban flora and fauna, dedicated mainly to paleontological science. Right next to you your guide will accompany you to the art gallery Rubén Martínez Villena if it is of your interest.
It will also explain the history of the Plaza de Armas, the most historic corner of the city center, dating from the sixteenth century, initially known as “Plaza de la Iglesia”, the tragic accident that took place in the 18th century and The why of his name.
This square was restored in the second half of the nineteenth century changing its appearance completely. Count Villanueva ordered the erection of a statue of King Fernando VII, who was also his personal friend and who allowed some concessions to the island such as trade and the authorization of noble titles to the inhabitants. In the 20th century the statue was replaced by another one by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, one of the heroes of Cuban history, who fought fervently for the liberation of slaves on the island in the 1868 war against Spain. This statue was erected by the sculptor Sergio López Mesa.
Palace of the Second Cape
The visit to the palace of the second cape dating from 1770, whose purposes have changed throughout history, will continue. Initially it was the residence of the second lieutenant. Designed as the post office to then become curiously in the house of the vice governor where immediately after the independence of Spain would serve for the Senate until 1929 that would move to the Capitol.
He currently hosts the Cuban Book Institute and two bookstores.
As part of the tour in Havana through the historic center is also Calle Tacón: the only street left in Havana built with wood in its entirety. As part of its history contains legends, this time related to love … your guide will be responsible for telling you this exciting story, which although short is moving.
Palace of the General Captains
The palace of the governor called Palace of the Captains General, built between 1776 and 1791 by Antonio Fernández and Trevejos. Showing a Baroque style although the neo-classical portico was added 47 years later during the government of Tacón. It had 3 functions: the governor’s palace, the town council and the prison. Important in Cuban history since it functioned as a government palace from 1791 to 1898, hosting 65 general captains. From 1920 to 1967 he served as city hall, the City History office, until being declared as a museum of the city later where many fragments of Cuban history are exhibited.
You will also visit O’Reilly, Obispo, The water house: La Tinaja.
It will continue on Oficios Street, named for being inhabited mainly by scribes. This street was the first and the main one of the Villa and was connected with the administrative center (The Government Palace) and the San Franciso de Asis commercial plaza.
The restaurant La Mina, Palacio Episcopal, Al Medina is also part of the guided tour of the historic center of the Cuban capital. The building dates from the seventeenth century and was initially a school for orphan girls called San Francisco de Sales. On the floor above are the workshops of several famous Cuban painters: Roberto Fabelo, Zaida del Rio, Ernesto Rancaño and Choco.
The automobile museum is undoubtedly an important part of the excursion. Erected in the 18th century it was initially used as a garage for carriages horses. Then it was used as in a warehouse. It became the 20th century in the Museum of Old Cars (Deposit of old cars). Today he only exhibits half of his entire collection that consisted of 34 cars and 7 Harley Davidson motorcycles. The cars that were exhibited were assembled before 1930. The other half was transferred to the corners of Mercaderes and O’Reilly after the damages of Hurricane Michelle. All cars retain their original machinery.
It will continue to the Casa del Árabe that was built in the seventeenth century. This house was initially the Catholic school of San Carlos. Currently exhibits the largest ethnographic collection in Cuba in the form of an Arab market.
Francisco de Asis Square
It will also pass through the Plaza Francisco de Asis. The second oldest in the city, named after the Franciscan church and the convent San Francisco de Asis. It dates from the seventeenth century (1629) and spontaneously became the first commercial center in the Villa. The ships unloaded their merchandise at the docks and bought fresh food to replenish.
As part of this square is the Church of San Francisco de Asis, originally built in the year 1584.
Other places that will also be visited are:
• Numismatic museum
• Tango House
• House of comedy
• Archeology cabinet
• Hostal Valencia
• The cruzeiro
• Trade market
• Café del Oriente and Customs
• Fountain of the lions
• Sculpture knight of Paris