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It is usual for Cubans to walk from end to end along Paseo del Prado in Havana. Something like a tradition. A custom of this city. This outdoor space serves as a meeting point.
In the walk we will find children occupied in their children’s games. Some play football or “pelota” (baseball), others skate and some more run. Couples sitting on the stone benches live their romance, oblivious to the back and forth of the people. Some seniors enjoy the shade of the trees as they reminisce over their past stories. It is also a favorite place of recreation for friends, a place to spend time joking and dreaming together. And so, the Paseo del Prado in Old Havana is full of life.
This paved avenue has more than 200 years of history. The custom of going through it is ancient. Carriage rides were initially more popular than hikes. In the surroundings the people built recreational societies, hotels, cinemas, theaters and their wealthy mansions. These buildings of eclectic architecture still guarded the Paseo del Prado.
Unlike Alameda de Paula, Paseo del Prado was built outside the great walls that surrounded the city. Hence its first name: “Alameda de Extramuros”. At the end of the colonial government it happened to be called Paseo de Martí and with the years it acquired its present name. Its most distinctive elements are its stone benches with back and marble base, its artistic iron lamps and the bronze lions that guard it.
The route, towards the sea, starts at the corner of Prado and Neptuno streets. In the surroundings are the Central Park, the Asturian Center, the Marriage Palace, the Sevilla Hotel and the Arab Center. At the end are El Templete and the entrance to the bay of Havana.
At present, the Prado of Havana remains one of the main attractions of the city. In addition, it serves as a stage for exhibitions, sales of works of art and cultural activities.
Would you like to know another Paseo del Prado in Cuba? See it at: Walking by Paseo del Prado at Cienfuegos
For visit: From Neptuno street to Malecon Avenue, Old Havana, La Habana (“23.13865, -82.35923”). Free access daily.
by: Leunam Rodríguez