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Some cities are as raw and transparent as an open-air museum, Havana is one of those cities.
Cuba’s diamond in the rough, Havana is an imperfect beauty. It’s a city where history stands still; its turbulent past reading like chapters written across the streets. From architecture that presents a cocktail of beauty and decay, to the 1950s cars robbed of their retirement, Havana offers insight into a country that once prospered, before surrendering to politics, manipulation and power.
A juxtaposition of incredible wealth fractured by years of instability, the crumbling streets are freckled with cathedrals and palaces, opulent balustrades and grand patios. Art deco theatres nudge neo-gothic churches and hint at a past that was once rich in prosperity. But for every palatial façade there exists a whisper of poverty and the tell-tale signs of decay. Corroding architecture that’s so far from repair you can almost hear it creaking. And skeletons of old colonial buildings; painted brightly but peeling badly.
And yet amidst all this confliction there remains an un-dwindling Caribbean optimism; Havana residents are the world’s friendliest receivers of tourists; inherently proud that their city possesses such an irresistible magnetism. From the classic American cars that clutter the streets to the delicious mojitos, iconic cigars and the face of Che Guevara on every postcard, magnet and cigarette lighter within a 50km radius, the people of Havana know - more so than anybody - that their great city, albeit ragged and ram-shackled, is by far one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Viva la Cuba!
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