Guide to Havana
Havana is one of the oldest cities in the New World. It was “founded” by Spanish colonialists in 1514 as San Cristóbal de la Habana and was located on the southern coast of the island. It was moved to its present northwestern location in 1519 because the natural bay, which now hosts Havana's harbor, was a great location for a port city and also allowed easy access to the Gulf Stream, the main ocean current that navigators followed when traveling from Europe to the Americas.
In Havana Vieja, the ancient part of the city, stands some of the most stunning Spanish colonial architecture in the world. Old Havana, in its entirety, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The rest of the city expanded out from the Old Town and different periods brought different styles of architecture, from colonial to eclectic, art deco to rationalist.
Now, there are over 2 million inhabitants in the capitol city. It is the cultural, political and economic hub of the island. Few cities in the world surpass Havana’s charm and romantic beauty. As well as its distinguished architecture, Havana has numerous attractions, a plethora of interesting museums, white sand beaches and superb recreation areas, and a swinging nightlife.