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I’d like to begin by discussing the really ancient architecture of Cuba, but we didn’t get to any archaeological sites apart from the footings of a few colonial-era walls that have been cleared in Old Havana. Archaeological work in Havana is directed by the city Historian, who seems to be in charge of a lot of the cultural entities. The oldest surviving structures easily visible are the forts around Havana.10-17-16-havana-013There are many graceful old buildings in Havana that mostly date to the 19th century. Condition varies and our guides tell us there have been times when people could not afford any repairs or even paint. That situation is changing.

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Much of Old Havana is being repaired and renovated (left).

 

 

 

 

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In other neighborhoods the renovated buildings are interspersed with buildings in need of a facelift (right).

Some places have a lot of character even though they are in need of work (above).10-17-16-havana-walk-w-cathy-016

 

This building is just starting the renovation process. In the photo below, you can see the canopy of the entryway (left side of the upper photo). The glass panels are a traditional decorative technique.

10-17-16-havana-walk-w-cathy-017Fanlights of colored or painted glass were used frequently. Some are stained glass, but many panels of glass are held together with narrow strips of wood.

There are some great details:

In addition to architecture that comes from the colonial tradition, there is some newer work that shows off the versatility of cement. I believe these were mostly built in the 60s and 70s.

10-18-16-havana-006 10-17-16-havana-walk-w-cathy-018There are not many of these “space age” buildings. 10-17-16-havana-walk-w-cathy-014My overall impression of Cuba was of graceful buildings in many places and lots of interesting architecture to look at.