Havana's Obispo street

Havana's Obispo street

Heritage & Traditions

Laura Rodriguez

Filled with a history of almost five centuries, the always very busy Obispo Street is today a reflection of the current life of Havana and a must-see for those who want to know the authentic Cuba.

Shops of various articles, bookstores, restaurants, libraries, public institutions ... street musicians and a constant coming and going of Havanans and tourists characterize this pedestrian artery that extends for about 11 blocks from East to West, from the shores of the Bay of La Havana.

Its origin dates back to the 16th century, around 1519, the date of the founding of the town San Cristóbal de La Habana, and in the beginning it had buildings of yaguas and guano, built on a narrow path to avoid the strong sun. 

Over time, the street had different names, but as of 1936, it officially assumed the one that it now carries, according to specialists it was the residence, at different times, of the bishops Fray Jerónimo de Lara and Pedro Agustín Morell de Santa Cruz.

In the past, fashion houses and candy stores, lively cafes, pharmacies and gradually other services were established there, and it was very busy as it led to the Plaza de Armas and the Government House.

It is worth strolling it all, knowing it all, but with a suggestion to stop at the Numismatic Museum, former headquarters of Banco Mendoza, which centralized the most important financial operations in the country, and now treasures historical pieces with values ​​estimated at more than three million dollars.

Also, a couple of emblematic sites, related to the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, Ernest Hemingway, who lived in the Ambos Mundos hotel, at the intersection with Mercaderes street, in whose room for a decade, preserved for his memory, he wrote his famous novel For whom the bell tolls (1939).