As Cuba prepares to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the founding of Havana on November 16 2019, many of the city’s busiest places are getting a facelift.
The intersection of 23 and 12 in the Vedado neighborhood is one of these places. Calle 23 (23rd Street) is one of Cuba’s most famous avenues marked by the hustle and bustle of city life on every corner, in tune with the colourful atmosphere of the capital. It traverses Vedado from one end to the other.
The intersection of 23rd and 12th streets is popular indeed and close to emblematic places such as the Colon Cemetery, the Cuban Film Industry (ICAIC) building and several establishments like La Pelota cafeteria.
Declared a national cultural heritage monument, this famous intersection was where Cuban leader Fidel Castro proclaimed the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution in 1961, and where young Cubans held many political rallies.
Today, both visitors and people who live in the area use this space to meet with friends or simply contemplate the city life from the bars, coffee shops and restaurants dotted along all four of its corners.
It was on this corner but during another political rally that celebrated Cuban photographer Korda took the world famous photo of Cuban-Argentinean guerrilla fighter Ernesto “Che” Guevara. A documentary was even shot about that event, made by director Pedro Chaskel and entitled A Photo Travels Around the World.
In addition t o Cuba’s Film Library and Chaplin Movie-theater, the intersection is also home t o Café Fresa y Choc olate, the Cinecitta Pizzeria and se veral shops. The beautiful and elegant Vedado neighbourhood was formerly a forest, that began to be developed in the late 19th century and has become one of the Cuban capital’s main urban districts.
Commercial establishments, schools, ministries, banks, bars, restaurants, movietheaters, night clubs, hotels, parks and the famous Coppelia ice-cream parlor are located along the main artery of 23rd Street. The intersection of 23 and 12 stands out as particularly attractive amid the constant hustle and bustle of a very colourful environment.