Robaina's plantation

Friday 25 May 2018

5ta Avenida (Miramar) Havana (2018)

               Quinta Avenida is one of the longest and certainly the most beautiful Boulevards in Havana & it was important to the developement of the Miramar district. In the year 1900, most of what we know as Miramar was farmland. It began to be developed in the first part of the 1900's as a result of the migration of wealthy people from Havana at that time. The fountain that sits at the beginning of 5ta (built in 1924) was named 'Fountain of the Americas' after the original name of 5ta Avenida which was Avenida de Las Américas (Avenue of the Americas). Another notable site is the clock tower at 10th street built between 1921 and 1924. The bells were supposed to sound like London's 'Big Ben' but since they don't work, I've never heard them. The 'Casa Verde' (Green House) at 2nd and 5ta is also quite famous having many mysteries attached to it. Today it's been converted into a museum. In 1921 a metal draw bridge was constructed that connected the Vedado district with Miramar crossing the Almendras River. It helped significantly with the expansion and 10 years later the road it connected to was named Quinta (5ta) Avenida. In 1953 the tunnel was built and that made it much easier by cutting travel time by a substantial amount. Today many of the houses along the strip of 5ta I'm referencing have been converted to government entities, commercial spaces and embassies. I have posted none of the photos (maybe 1 or 2) of the embassies, I will be doing that in a future post, 'Embassy Row'.
                Today Quinta Avenida extends from the tunnel coming from Vedado, all the way to around the town of Santa Fe just after Marina Hemingway where it becomes a highway (Carretera Panamericana) that goes to around Calle 284, approximately 10 kilometers in total. The part I have explored or made reference to in this post is between the tunnel, up to about Calle 92. I will explore further on in another post but it's safe to say that most of the action lies within the area I show below. Up to around Calle 110 there's a pedestrian walkway with manicured bushes and trees on either side of it running through the middle of 5ta starting from the fountain on Calle 2. I always see joggers, people walking their dogs, cycling or just hanging out in groups or alone on any one of the many benches placed along the walkway. Our house is right on 5ta, I often sit on the porch, smoke a cigar and watch the traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, parade by. After the roundabout at Calle 112 the landscape changes dramatically, residential turns into commercial and the Coney Island Park appears on your right. I don't go beyond the roundabout on this post, I will continue this route in the future.
               A few points of interest are: The 'Centro de Negocios Miramar' (Miramar Trade Center) located between 76-80 & 5ta y 3ra. This outdoor mall was constructed between the late 1990's & 2000's and offers an array of services and entertainment venues. The Iglesia de Jesus de Miramar built between 1945-53 at Calle 82, the Santuario Nacional de San Antonio de Padua built in 1949 at Calle 60 (which I've always found closed) and the Iglesia Catolica Santa Rita de Casia at Calle 26 that was built in 1950, all 3 of these churches are found along this strip of 5ta. The Parque Miramar with it's statue of Amiliano Zapata is a beautiful refuge with benches and shade trees on either side of 5ta between Calle 24/26. There are also several Cigar Shops on and near 5ta: the 5ta y 16 LCDH, the Hotel Comodoro Cigar shop on 3 y 84, the Hotel Melia Habana LCDH on 3 y 76/80, the Hotel Palco LCDH just off the roundabout at 5ta y 146, the Club Havana LCDH on 5ta y 188/192 and finally the Marina Hemingway LCDH near the end of 5ta Avenida. A few (many) restaurants and bars have opened up on or around 5ta (I'll talk about these in another post) as well as many Casa Particulares. Something to note, there are very few left turns allowed on 5ta and you must maintain a minimum speed of 60 kph (max.80 kph) with no stopping at anytime. Cameras are set up all along 5ta and if by some chance you stop, the police will be there in minutes.

Reloj de Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue Clock Tower) 

Fuente de Las Américas (Fountain of the Americas)

Parque Miramar with statue of Amiliano Zapata on either side of 5ta between Calle 24/26

Centro de Negocios Miramar' (Miramar Trade Center)

Iglesia Catolica Santa Rita de Casia (at Calle 26)

Santuario Nacional de San Antonio de Padua (at Calle 60)

Iglesia de Jesus de Miramar (at Calle 82)

Pedestrian walkway down the center of Quinta Avenida

La Casa Verde (The Green House at Calle 2)

Raffaello Palace (65 unit Foreign Residence) 

Unknown Embassy

Thursday 17 May 2018

Statues and Monuments of Havana (2018)

                         Statues and/or monuments of fallen heroes, ideological allies and persons of the arts, medicine or education are scattered throughout the city and to a lesser degree in towns and cities across the country. You can't help but take notice. I've gathered a few of them below, most of which the photo was taken this past March.

Unknown bust in front of an abandoned house on 1st Ave. in Miramar....looks Russian to me

This is the latest statue that was erected just a couple of months ago. It's a bronze replica of a famous statue of José Martí. The original that has been in New York’s Central Park for more than 50 years, was donated by the Cuban government. It's right in front of the Revolution Museum that was once the Presidential Palace until 1959. This statue is a gift from U.S. donors by way of The Bronx Museum of the Arts. 

José Martí (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895)
was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life, he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, a Freemason, a political theorist, and supporter of Henry George's economic reforms known as Georgism.

Jose Marti along 5ta Avenida

Jose Marti in Parque Central. The "park" came into existance in 1877 after the city walls had been knocked down. This was the first monument that was erected honoring Jose Marti. It was done on the 10th anniversary of his death in January of 1905 (on February 24th). It took the place of a statue of the Queen Isabel II of Spain erected during their rule in Cuba. The Queen's was taken away in 1899, the year after the Spanish withdrew from the island in having lost the Spanish–American War in 1898. The inauguration ceremony was led by the great General of the liberating army, Máximo Gómez and the then president, Tomás Estrada Palma.

Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997)
was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. This statue sits in a little park behind the monastery of San Francisco de Asis near the Plaza San Fracisco and accessible from the Avenida del Puerto. 

Francisco de Albear y Fernández de Lara (January 11, 1816 – October 22, 1887)
was a Spanish engineer from Cuba. His main achievement was the project for the catchment of the Vento springs and their conveyance to Havana for the water supply of the city, now known as the Acueducto de Albear. The project was designed in 1855 and the construction started in 1861, being completed in 1893. It was distinguished with the Gold Medal of the Éxposition universelle of Paris 1878. The aqueduct is still in operation. This statue sits in the Parque Albear which is right in front of  'La Floridita'.

Gonzalo de Quesada (December 15, 1868 - January 9, 1915) 
was a key architect of Cuba's Independence Movement with José Martí during the late 19th century. He received the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France.

Manuel de la Cruz y Fernández (September 17, 1861 – February 19, 1896) 
was a Cuban writer and journalist. He served as editor of El Fígaro, a weekly Cuban magazine, and wrote for several magazines and newspapers in Cuba and abroad. In 1890, he published Episodios de la Revolución Cubana, a collection of first-hand accounts of the Ten Years' War. He also wrote fictional novels including La Hija del Montero (The Huntsman's Daughter) and La Hija del Guardiero (The Overseer's Daughter). De la Cruz died suddenly in 1896 at the age of 34. This bust sits at one end of the street Prado.

This monument sits in a little park on the a corner of the Plaza de Armas, I never noticed it until this past March. The plaque reads: "A la Ciudad de La Habana, Patrimonio Cultural de la humanidad, por el escultor Sueco Andres Sandstrom." Ano 2005 Embajador de Suecia en Cuba, 1980-1984.
("To the City of Havana, Cultural Heritage of Humanity, by the Swedish sculptor Andres Sandstrom." Year 2005 Ambassador of Sweden in Cuba, 1980-1984.)

Pedro Ortiz Cabrera (Chivirico, February 22, 1953 - Havana, April 1, 1980). 
was a Cuban revolutionary fighter, member of the National Revolutionary Police, victim of the events that took place in the headquarters of the Embassy of Peru in Havana in 1980. On April 1, Pedro was serving as a custodian outside the embassy of Peru. That afternoon, antisocial elements violently projected an omnibus against the mission fence with the purpose of penetrating the diplomatic headquarters. Pedro Ortiz Cabrera lost his life in the shooting that took place as a result of the events. This memorial is by the sidewalk along 5ta Avenida near the Hotel Memories Miramar.

This garden, 'Jardín Diana de Gales', sits just behind the Lonja de Commercio at one corner of Plaza de San Fransisco.
It was funded by the British Embassy. Why honor Diana in Cuba? Cubans admired the Princess for her humanitarian work. This bust is at the entrance to the park.

Julio Antonio Mella McPartland (25 March 1903 – 10 January 1929) 
was a founder of the "internationalized" Cuban Communist Party. Mella studied law in the University of Havana until he was expelled in 1925 and is considered a hero by the present Cuban government. 

America Arias López (1857-1935)
with the Little War and then Independence in 1895 became a powerful auxiliary of her husband, was confidant of the mambises, and provided valuable and varied services to the cause of Cubans fighting in the fields and actively participated as a nurse and messenger and reached the rank of Capitana of the Liberating Army.

Unknown monument along the new construction on the Avenida del Puerto.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) 
was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright who is best known for having written 'Don Quixote'.

Rafael Montoro y Valdes (1852-1933) 
was born in Spain but once Cuba won it's independence from her, he became a Cuban citizen. He was an important politician and an essayist.

Benito Pablo Juárez García (21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872) 
was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served as the president of Mexico for five terms: 1858–1861 as interim, then 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872 as constitutional president. He resisted the French occupation of Mexico, overthrew the Second Mexican Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberal measures to modernize the country.

Major General, Alejandro Rodríguez Velazco (born in Sancti Spíritus, on November 19, 1852 - died in Havana on February 27, 1915).
was a Division General of the Liberation Army. Veteran of the War of '68, outstanding military leader in the War of Independence of 1895-1898 and first mayor of Havana. This statue sits along Paseo in the Vedado district of Havana.

Juan Clemente Zenea, writer, Cuban born, Bayamo , Granma (February 24, 1832). 
He is recognized for having great influence in Cuban literature in Romanticism, marking a new line in the Latin American poetry. This monument sits at one end of Prado in Old Havana.

Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 1769 – 6 May 1859)
was a Prussian geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. Between 1799-1804, Humboldt traveled extensively in Latin America, exploring & describing it for the first time from a modern scientific point of view.

This guy sits along the new construction on Avenida del Puerto and I still haven't been able to find any information about him. There is no plaque indicating who he is, I'll let you know when I find out.

Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa (24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat. 
was a Palestinian political leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically an Arab nationalist, he was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until 2004. Why he has a monument in Havana, I do not know. 

Allan Kardec is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (3 October 1804 – 31 March 1869). 
He is the author of the five books known as the Spiritist Codification, and is the founder of Spiritism.