Tucked in the province of Habanna, south west off
the coast of Florida, the city of Havana located on
23°8 N and 83°23 W was founded on 25 August 1515.
Havana with a population of 2,662,000(2005 stats),
is the largest city of Cuba and the oldest in Latin
America before New York and Mexico cities.
The Cuban ministries and parliament are located in
the Capital City of Havana. Havana was named after
an Amerindian chief Habaguanex who controlled the
area in the past. According to an Indian Cuban myth
her daughter’s name was Habana hence the city of
Habana/Havana. Havana was made the city and official
capital of Cuba on the 10 December 1592 by King
Philip II of Spain as all the main offices, trade
and businesses were located there.
Havana had also
different names; in 1553 the capital was known as
Real Cedula and in 1634 it was christened Key of the
New World Fortified City of the West Indies. The
Saint Patron watching over Havana is Saint
The city of Havana is divided in different parts,
old Havana, Centro Havana, Vedado and Miramar.
Old Havana, declared World Heritage in 1982, grew on
the outskirts of the port and is famous for its
cultural and historical Spanish colonial
architecture and designs. Old Havana is a fortress
built to resist the corsairs, pirates and buccaneers
attacks. Within its walls, buildings ranging from
gothic, neoclassical and 17th century baroque stand
alongside modern houses and courtyards. Though the
hurricanes and tropical weather have got its toll
over the years over the old colonial relics of
Spanish Cuba, they are now being restored as Cuba is
opening its frontiers to tourists from the outside
Centro Havana is well known for it Chinese centre or
its Chinatown. Chinese restaurants, reminiscent of
the great Chinese immigrants who came to
this part of the world was built in the
early 20th century.
A buzzing area in pre-Castro era, it lost its bright
and lively side when all the businesses were nationalised with the Revolution in 1959 and many
immigrants choose to return back to China or move to
the United States.
Vedado is the economic nerve centre of financial and
commercial Havana. Shopping malls, tourist hotels of
high standing, international airline agencies and
business head offices are lodged in this part of the
city where also dwells the University of Havana.
West of Vedado lies Miramar and its big mansions.
Home of diplomatic missions and embassies,
International Conference Centre and International
trade centre it also shelters colonial houses of the