Saturday, July 18, 2015

What is New in Havana?

Nacional Theater in 2013
     The biggest change I have noticed in Havana is the clean up and the restoration of so many of the buildings.  Many of them were in pretty rough shape on my prior visits.  One of the most noticeable was the National Theater next to the Hotel Inglatera.   In prior years this building was black with soot.  Today it looks like a brand new building.  It has been cleaned and painted looking what I have to believe it did when it was first built.
Nacional Theater Today

     From the vantage point at the top of the Bacardi Building Tower it is plain to see how much has been accomplished.  Many of the major buildings and monuments have been or are being restored to their former beauty.  Looking from any direction you can see projects that have been completed and ones that are well under way.  El Capitolio, the building that was modeled after our Capitol Building in Washington DC, has been being restored for the past three plus years and the progress is just unbelievable.   In the foreground an old defunct Mall was being restored to become a 5 star resort with a mall on the ground floor.

     Looking toward the harbor you can see the waterfront buildings looking like new, as well as some of the other historic buildings in the area.  There is a stark contrast between the restored and the unrestored buildings.   The restorations are a huge cleaning up of the city and maintaining the character of the architecture of these beautiful historic buildings and statues.   If you look carefully you can see the huge statue of Jesus Christ, known as "The Christ of Havana", it stands on the hill above the arbor.  This too is undergoing a complete renovation as well.

     The Presidential Palace clean-up is nearly completed as well.  This incredibly ornate building stands out against the background of the harbor entrance and the old fort that guarded the city.   The view in any direction shows all of the progress that has been made in a short two years.  I feel like if I am able to return to Havana at some time in the future it will look like a brand new city.  It is so wonderful to see the improvements and how clean they making this city look.