Havana on its 502nd anniversary, against all odds

Havana on its 502nd anniversary, against all odds

Heritage & Traditions

Gabriela Santiesteban

If ever it did not appear on maps or was later a point lost in them, today Havana, which this November 16 celebrates its 502nd anniversary, is unknown only to a few.

The Cuban capital, whose historic center is a World Heritage Site, among other recognitions, has been chosen as a Wonder City by Internet users from all over the world, a member of the Unesco Network of Creative Cities and this year it ranked seventh in the list of cities. most “instagrammable” in the world and fourth in the most desirable cities in the 2021 Wanderlust Travel Awards.

The anniversary comes to the city in the middle of the beginning of the expected return to its rich daily life after almost two years in the harsh period of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new normal that includes the resumption of the school year in person and the reopening of international airports.

Concerts, other varied artistic actions, children's activities, sports ..., in public spaces and recently reopened cultural and recreational institutions are part of the celebrations, which coincide with the beginning of the 14th Havana Biennial, in which, until the 30th of April 2022, more than 300 representatives from different countries will participate.

Interventions in capital neighborhoods to improve the quality of life, and the restoration of cultural sites and homes in the historic center are carried out these days, in which Eusebio Leal, historian of the city and one of the main architects of Havana’s heritage preservation, deceased last year, is remembered in a special way.

In its long history, privateers, pirates, foreign powers ... have besieged the city which, like the entire nation, face today the consequences of the pandemic, the renewed hostility of the United States and the challenge of redirecting the economy.

According to deep-rooted custom, to make their wishes come true, Havana residents and visitors circled the ceiba tree that stands next to El Templete, in the founding place of the town of San Cristóbal de La Habana, which persists and continues the day before. it is renewed through thick and thin.