NARVÁEZ BOULEVARD: old warehouses, new community projects
By Mercy Ramos, Photo: José Meriño
Considered the first modern urban development on the island, the city of Matanzas is currently focused on rescuing its cultural heritage. All the hard work in doing so becomes clear when visiting the well known Narváez Boulevard. The famous walk has been part of a zone reactivation program for the last couple of years. Narváez Boulevard is a popular destination among locals and tourists alike, known for its attractions and for being the only riverside walk on the island.
The city’s historian, Leonel Pérez Orozco, told CubaPlus in an exclusive interview that the Narváez Boulevard was chosen to undergo the rehabilitation program due to its unique features. There’s only a small section of the boulevard along which you can find buildings. These, on the other hand, are the oldest buildings in the city and, in the past would have served as warehouses for the wealthiest residents in the area.
The other section, the San Juan River, stretches through an important part of the city. This is a unique location which can only be found in Matanzas. Although there are rivers that run through other cities in the country, none of them are as big as the San Juan River.
After undergoing a significant rehabilitation program, the Narváez Boulevard has now become an important cultural center, where besides artgalleries and workshops, you can find bars, cafes, a 3D virtual museum and the city’s Arts School. According to Orozco, Narváez Boulevard has become an icon of the local culture. After the rehabilitation process it is now a place for gatherings and recreation.
In the morning people come to enjoy the fresh breeze emanating from the cool waters of the San Juan River. In the afternoon, it becomes a bohemian spot where poets, painters and musicians share their art; and during the night, young people gather to dance to the beat of the music in a fun and friendly environment.