Places - Cuba's Western Region

Modern Havana

When most people envision Havana, they see a Spanish Colonial city of cobblestone streets, baroque palaces and churches, large plazas and the vestiges of ancient fortresses with cannons and dungeons.  What they don’t realize is that most of Havana was built during the 20th Century.  Most surprising is that some of the best examples of mid-20th-century modern architecture in all of Latin America can be found in Havana; the most notable of these buildings remaining relatively unchanged from their initial construction. The Cuban modernist movement, active since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reached its zenith in the 1940s and 1950s.  In 1955, the Museum of Modern Art in New York featured the seminal exhibit and publication by Henry-Russel Hitchcock, Latin American Architecture Since 1945, introducing Cuba’s avant-garde modern architects. This driving tour will take you throughout Havana’s neighborhoods, showcasing the inordinate amount of modern architecture in contrast to the size of the city, both commercial and residential, opening your eyes to a Havana that is rarely seen in photos but of great historical and architectural significance. You’ll witness the surprising number of notable architects that practiced during these two decades in Cuba, and the modern, sophisticated and stylish city they built by the first half of the 20th century.