The Malecón (officially Avenida de Maceo) is a broad esplanade, roadway and seawall which stretches for 8 km (5 miles) along the coast in Havana, Cuba, from the mouth of Havana Harbor in Old Havana, along the north side of the Centro Habana neighborhood, ending in the Vedado neighborhood. New businesses are appearing on the esplanade due to economic reforms in Cuba that now allow Cubans to own private businesses.
The main purpose of building the Malecón was to protect Havana from the water and the so-called Nortes, but in reality, it wound up serving more for nighttime promenades by Habaneros, for lovers and most of all for individual fishermen.
To celebrate the construction of the first 500m section of the Malecón, the American government built a beautiful roundabout at the intersection of Paseo del Prado, which, according to architects of the period, was the first one built in Cuba with steel-reinforced concrete. In front of the roundabout, where every Sunday bands played Cuban melodies, the Miramar Hotel was built, which was very much in fashion for the first 15 years of independence and which was the first one where the waiters wore tuxedos (dinner jackets), vests (waistcoats) with gold buttons, and did not have moustaches.
Subsequent Cuban governments continued the extension of the first section of the Malecón. In 1923 it reached the mouth of the Almendares River between K and L streets in Vedado, where the United States Embassy was built, the José Martí Sports Park and further out, the Hotel Rosita de Hornedo, today, the Sierra Maestra.
The Malecón continues to be popular among Cubans, especially among those of lesser means whose other means of entertainment are limited.
It is also a means of income for poorer families, as individual fishermen cast their lures there. In addition, it is a hotspot for prostitution by men (transvestites, transsexuals, or traditional) and women.
Although the houses lining the Malecón are mostly in ruins, the Malecón remains one of the most spectacular and popular destinations in Havana.
Stages of completion
- in 1901 and 1902, from the Paseo del Prado to Calle Crespo
- between 1902 and 1921 as far as the Monument to the Victims of the USS Maine
- between 1948 and 1952 to the mouth of the Almendares River
Points of interest
At the intersection of 23rd Street, the Malecón marks the northeast end of the "La Rampa" section of 23rd Street, Vedado, and is very active at night.
- Ordonez, Franco (April 19, 2012). "For an American, Havana is filled with contradictions Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/19/3563781/for-an-american-havana-is-filled.html#storylink=cpy". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Sanchez, Cecilia (April 21, 2012). "A generational divide widens in Cuba". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- "HISTORIA DEL MALECON HABANERO", Tania Díaz Castro, 26 March 2010, Primavera Digital
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to El Malecón.|
- "Malecón habanero", EcuRed (Cuban state wiki, in Spanish)
- "The Malecón", Moon Travel Guides"
- "El Malecón", Cuba Junky