Havana, Cuba

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Cruising to Havana

Where evolution meets revolution

The Cuban capital is one of those cities that never fails to fire people's imagination, existing on the fringes of mainstream global markets - thanks to the ongoing trade blockade imposed by the US - yet at the very heart of an entirely separate cultural sphere. Since the iconic Revolution of 1959, Havana has developed along its own path, diverging from the trail followed by the rest of the world. Everything, from the philosophy and rationality of its inhabitants to the cars you will see on its roads, is unique in Havana, with the city having evolved into a kind of post-modern version of the 1950s.

Famous for its 50s-style classic American cars (most of which have been adapted to run with Russian engines) and colonial architecture, Havana is the kind of place where just walking around is an experience in itself. The likes of Ernest Hemmingway, Federico Garia Lorca and many other of the 20th century's greatest writers were left captivated by the city in the years before the Revolution, and if you'd like to follow in Hemmingway's footsteps then head straight to Bar El Floridita, where he remains eternally propping up the bar in the form of a bronze statue.

To discover the city's roots and learn more about its colonial heritage, take a stroll around the Plaza de Armas, which dates back to the 16th century and is adorned with several age-old buildings such as the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. As you walk, you'll not fail to notice the way that the ideology of the famous Revolution has become fused with the city's iconic colonial architecture, with socialist slogans and giant murals of Che Guevara to be found throughout Havana.

For a look at the way that the city's culture has developed over the years (both before and after the Revolution), the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is the place to go. Pieces dating from 500 BC all the way up to the modern day can be found here, with the gallery being housed in the impressive Centro Asturiano.

Another thing that Havana is famous for is its love of partying and letting its hair down, with Havana Club Rum and the famous Cuba Libre cocktail being two of the city's most famous exports. The world-famous Tropicana nightclub is always worth a visit if you're looking for some Latino-style revelry, with live mambo and salsa keeping punters spinning and dancing until the wee hours.


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