Havana beat on Obispo Street

Havana beat on Obispo Street

Heritage & Traditions

By Alina Veranes

Born from one of the flanks of the Plaza de Armas, in the Historic Center of Havana, Calle Obispo -formerly Calle del Obispo- advances in a straight line until it ends almost at the gates of the famous Paseo del Prado, in a crowded route that lets you feel the heartbeat of Cuban life and culture in a very genuine Creole way.

Along this street, converted into a pedestrian walk, parades on both sides restaurants, cafeterias, establishments for sweets and confectionery, jewelry stores, bars, art galleries, souvenir shops and bookstores... where you can find a nice gift or souvenir of the unforgettable trip to Cuba, including its music.

In times when the pandemic had not arrived -and which will soon end-, the view of the street, heavily traveled by Cubans and tourists, was the most picturesque and joyful thing imaginable. On any Obispo corner, a trio with guitars, bongos and keys played traditional Cuban music, making you move your feet and lift anyone's spirits.

You could also see a big brunette, with a cigar on her lips, throw cards or read your palm to tell your fortune in a very casual way and many times you hear a mixture of words from Afro-Cuban culture and perhaps even from the gypsy repertoire

The thunderous music of the Parades of popular characters shod on high stilts, crossing the artery, at San Ignacio or Mercaderes, is also usual, as well as the funny characters assumed by the living statues, another current of street art that has been enthroned at Bishopstreet.

With the gradual recovery of Cuban tourism, this Havana artery, where there is not a minute of boredom, will once again have the populous strength that has always characterized it. For the time being, its shops are working and cultural activity is gaining ground every day.

A recommendation: A walk through Obispo can be started before reaching the street, going to the Plaza de Armas and visiting El Templete, El Castillo de la Real Fuerza and the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the founding center of Havana.

Then, you can walk the narrow street of yore and enjoy it, ending your stay at El Floridita bar to taste a Daiquiri, you will not regret it. Look out, perhaps a single afternoon is not enough for it.