The unique charm of the city of Havana, founded in November 1519, is due in no small part to its many monuments, most of which are associated with personalities and events.
Many, such as the Revolution Square and the José Martí memorial, are as beautiful as they are interesting, and are considered to be emblematic for both Havana and for Cuba as a whole, because they symbolize the Revolution that triumphed in 1959.
Many of the nation’s most important political and cultural events of the last 55 years, including the closing ceremonies of international congresses, mass solidarity meetings and military parades, have taken place there.
The construction of Revolution Square – initially called Civic Square – concluded on July 16, 1961. The project was the result of an idea that first emerged at the beginning of the 1940s when an international contest was held for the erection of a monument to José Martí on the site of the former Catalan Chapel.
112 meters high, 28 meters wide and with a diameter of 78.50 meters, the monument is the highest point in Havana.
There is an elevator inside that takes people to a height of 90 meters and a stairs with 579 steps.
The José Martí Memorial is housed in the base of the monument where 79 quotations of the words of Cuba’s National Hero are engraved in golden letters throughout its five halls.
Another monument built in memory of the Cuban Apostle, as Martí is also known, is located in Havana’s Parque Central.
The sculpture, unveiled on February 24, 1905, was created by Cuban sculptor José Vilalta de Saavedra, who had been commissioned by the Monument to Martí Association.
The sculpture replaced a marble statue of Elizabeth II that had been removed from its pedestal on March 12, 1899.
Another place of historical interest in Havana is the Templete, the site where the villa of San Cristóbal de La Habana, was founded on November 16, 1519.
A ceiba tree stands at the entrance that residents of Havana traditionally walk around three times on the night of the anniversary of the city’s foundation.
The Templete has been a designated World Heritage Site since 1982 and is the place where a mass was celebrated under the ceiba tree to formally establish the Village that later on became Cuba’s capital.
The Templete houses three canvases by French painter Jean Baptiste Vermay that depict that first mass and the first town council.
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