Malecón, Havana

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Malecón

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,[1] 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.[2]

History[edit]

Malecón
Malecón at twilight

Construction of the Malecón began in 1901, during temporary U.S. military rule.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

The Malecón continues to be popular among Cubans, especially among those of lesser means whose other means of entertainment are limited.[3]

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.[3]

Although the houses lining the Malecón are mostly in ruins, the Malecón remains one of the most spectacular and popular destinations in Havana.[3]

Stages of completion[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

There are a number of important monuments along the Malecón, including those to General Máximo Gomez, Antonio Maceo, General Calixto García, and the Monument to the Victims of the USS Maine.

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.

In the Plaza de la Dignidad is a statue of José Martí and in front of the United States Interests Section in Havana, the José Martí Anti-Imperialist Platform.

Significant buildings include the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, the Torreón de San Lázaro, and the Hotel Nacional.


Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°8′30″N 82°22′05″W / 23.14167°N 82.36806°W / 23.14167; -82.36806