Fifth Avenue: an artery full of history
By Julia Muñoz
The Fifth Avenue of Havana, in the Playa municipality, is one of the best known and busiest arteries within the urban fabric of the Cuban capital, initially called Avenue of the Americas.
It extends from the tunnel that connects it with Calzada Street, in El Vedado, to the Santa Ana River, in the town of Santa Fe. From there it becomes the Pan-American Highway and reaches the town known as Mariel, in Artemisa province.
The 5th avenue was the most beautiful of its time, built around 1920. One of the architects who participated in its projection was New Yorker John H. Duncan, together with Cuban Leonardo Morales.
Its layout was decisive for the promotion of the Miramar neighborhood and also the Country Club and the Playa de Marianao, which is between Miramar and the Country Club.
The wealthy classes of that time built and bought their residences on 5th avenue, characterized from the beginning by their lavishness. In them, in addition to beauty, comfort was achieved, since the architects who designed it took great care in the distribution of the rooms and the precision of the premises for the needs of daily life.
But on 5th Avenue you can see, in addition to family houses, some religious buildings among which the Iglesia Jesús de Miramar, the Church of Santa Rita and the National Sanctuary of San Antonio de Padua stand out.
There is also the famous Isla del Coco amusement park, formerly named Coney Island, as well as a set of bars, billiards, nightclubs and beaches that offer a wide range of proposals to the Cuban and foreign visitor.
Something that cannot be forgotten is the Bell Tower Clock, located almost at the beginning of the avenue itself, which seems to welcome those arriving at the municipality, with a height of 22 meters -according to some, it is a replica of London's Big Ben, and officially approved since 1993 as a symbol of the town.