Squares

Cathedral SquareIn the second half of the 16th century the Spanish governorship moved from Santiago de Cuba to Havana for good. From that moment on Havana harbor became the most important in the island, because of the creation in 1561 of the fleet system and due to the fact that this harbor was an obliged stopping place on the way to the Peninsula. The population and the city grew out and beyond that narrow stripe bordering the bay.

The squares then became open spaces by the bay from where the arriving ships bringing goods and passengers could be seen. They were places that separated and at the same time united the principal neighbors that, as a rule, used to build their houses around them. The square was a place for communication, commerce and amusement.

San Francisco SquareOn the other hand, they were the center of an important architectonic ensemble. Around plazas the high-class families of the growing city built their houses. So came into existence a constructive typology that left a very special imprint on the city. The high ceilings, the two stories buildings, the wide porches that would afterwards spread all over the city, the variety of arches and the huge gates are some of the features making these squares beautiful colonial spots.