Paseo del Prado

Sep 13, 2018
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Lion statue at Prado street in old havana

Paseo de Isabel II, discover the colonial period

Built in 1772 by order of the then Captain General of the island of Cuba, the Marques de la Torre, the Paseo del Prado is one of the most emblematic, busy and attractive avenues of the city of Havana.

The artery begins at the capital’s Malecon and crosses the entire colonial zone, known as Old Havana, until it reaches the limits of the republican city, known as Centro Habana. At the time of its construction, it received the name of Alameda de Extramuros or Alameda de Isabel II.

The way we know it today, is the result of the public works plan drawn up by President Gerardo Machado and executed by the famous French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, in 1928. Currently, the avenue brings together a significant number of entities commercial and is characterized by having several Cuba villa rental.

Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, Havana had become a very prosperous town, thanks to its strategic geographical location, which served as a meeting point for the Spanish fleets that transferred the riches that the crown acquired in the New American Continent. The increase in the attacks of corsairs and pirates had made evident the need to navigate in groups and La Bahía de La Habana was very safe.

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Paseo del Prado, Havana

The commerce developed and with it the need to extend the limits of the Walled City, given the population growth of the town. As a strategic axis the Marquis de la Torre began the construction of a new artery known as Paseo de Extramuros, around which the fundamental structures were grouped, as well as the most powerful families of the new city.

A decade later, under the government of Miguel Tacón, a second constructive stage took place, where the limits of the avenue extended to the coast, known today as the Malecón de la Habana. During this period (1834-1838), the jail building and the Tacón Theater or Galician Center were built. Much of the nineteenth century, the Paseo was intended exclusively for pedestrian use and began to project, along its route, lavish buildings of neoclassical style, many of which are currently dedicated to offer accommodation for visitors looking to Cuba villa rental.

The Forestier Plan: the republican stage

With the first American intervention in Cuba, in 1902, a reconstruction of the Paseo de Isabel II was carried out and the name was changed to Paseo de Martí (although it was popularly known as Paseo del Prado). The new remodeling was annexed to the Central Park and defined a grove for the pedestrian crossing, delimited by two lateral avenues and a parking area.

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Paseo del Parado with Capitolio behind

The first building with modern hotel features was built around the structure: the Telegrafo Hotel, as well as other structures of social use such as cinemas and theaters. They also designed mansions with an eclectic architecture that imitated European fashion.

At the end of the twenties, the French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, made a new redesign of the avenue, which turned it into one of the most important walks in Latin America. Many trees were planted and included marble benches with eight statues representing the figure of a lion. The effigies, made in bronze, seem to guard the park, which was divided into four well-defined sections: the Paseo, the Central Park, the Explanada del Capitolio and the Plaza or Parque de la Fraternidad.

It was the first paved avenue in Havana, and the car was quickly incorporated as an indissoluble part of its streets. In addition, important structures of a political and social nature continued to be built. The most important of these was the Capitolio de La Habana, whose esplanade was integrated into the urban criteria of the rest of the Paseo. Choose one of our Cuba villa rental and have an unparalleled experience.

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Paseo del Prado in 1920´s

The Paseo del Prado today

From the 1950s, most of the wealthier families moved to the new suburban complexes Miramar, Siboney and El Vedado. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, real estate began to be occupied by middle class families and its prestige was declining until, at the beginning of the nineties, the new Cuban administration opened its doors again to international tourism and the territory was declared a World Heritage Site. Humanity by UNESCO. From then on, the hotel structures, restaurants, cafes, luxurious Cuba villa rentals, etc. were restored.

It is characterized by the permanence of exhibitions and the sale of art and has served as a stage for important events, such as the parade of the legendary firm Chanel, in 2016.

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