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Imagine being able to contemplate the whole of Havana at a glance. Impossible? You only have to visit the Cámara Oscura (Dark Chamber) in Old Havana. You will enjoy a 360 degree view of the entire Havana outline.

This magnificent artifact was donated to the city by the Provincial Deputation of Cádiz, Spain. The donation was the result of the brotherhood between Cadiz and Havana. It happened in 2001 thanks to the efforts of the Office of the Historian of Havana.

The wonder takes place every day in the highest part of the building known as Gómez Vila, located in one of the corners of the Plaza Vieja (Old Square). It makes possible an optical phenomenon that captures in real time the outside by means of a periscope located in a tower of 35 meters. Thanks to the effect of light on the lens and mirrors we can clearly see the buildings and the life in the city.

An expert explains in English and Spanish what visitors see. Among the representatives of Havana’s architecture can be seen: Havana Cathedral, Ambos Mundos Hotel, Palace of the Captains General, San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, Christ of Havana, San Francisco de Asís Church, The Russian Orthodox Church, the Old Square, the Baseball Stadium, the Revolution Square, the Havana Capitol, the Habana Libre Hotel, the Central Park, the Focsa Building, the National Hotel, the Bacardi Building and the Castle of Morro.

Dark chambers arise from an optical phenomenon studied by Aristotle more than 2,300 years ago and from the plans of Leonardo Da Vinci in the fifteenth century. They were one of the ancestral devices that led to the development of photography. In addition to the Dark Chamber of Havana, there are only a few in countries like Spain, England, Portugal and the United States.

For visit: Edificio Gómez Vila, Plaza Vieja, between Mercaderes & Teniente Rey. La Habana Vieja. Cuba. (“23.13635, -82.34969”). Telephone: (+53) 78664461, 78621801

by: Leunam Rodríguez