Robaina's plantation

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A Walk Along Prado (Nov.2015) Havana

           Prado is a boulevard that runs from the Malecon (ocean) right on up to and past the Capitolio over to the Parque de La Fraternidad. The main part or the one that everyone knows is the piece from the Malecon up to where it opens up to Parque Central, or the other way around.
           The work on this road began in the 1770's and wasn't finished until the mid 1800's. The 8 bronze lions were added in 1928. There's a wide elevated walkway lined with trees and benches that runs down the middle of the street. The street is lined with some beautiful buildings and with some that are in need of massive repairs as well as the odd empty shell, an interesting mixture of decaying structures and restored mansions. You'll find a little of everything along this street; hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, museums, a wedding chaple, dance school..... The walkway is a great place to people watch. Everyone and anyone walks and sits along this piece of road. It's used as a playground for schools in the area and you'll find kids playing there at any given time during the day. Rollerblading seems to be a new thing in the last few years. The smooth marble that's been used to line the walkway makes it perfect for this new activity. On Saturdays artists display their works and the walkway turns into a market.
            It's a very pretty walk with the shade trees, old lamps and the lions. When you get to the bottom you'll see a memorial commemorating the spot where 8 medical students were unjustly executed in 1871. It's called the 'Estudiantes de Medicina'. Right across the street is the Castillo de San Salvador de La Punta built at the end of the 16th century. The figure that dominates the area however is Maximo Gomez sitting on a horse. He was a great military leader during Cuba's 19th century wars of independence and fought along side Jose Marti. It was erected in 1935.
            If you haven't already done so, you have to take a walk along this short strip, day or night. Or take a seat on one of the many concrete benches scattered along it's length, it's a great way to view the many faces of the city.