Havana‘s Grand Metropolitan Park
By Armando Reyes
Just over twenty five years ago, Havana’s Grand Metropolitan Park (GPMH in Spanish) reclaimed its place as the city’s principal source of oxygen for densely populated and sparsely vegetated municipalities.
Comprising some 700 hectares and located along the last 9.5 km of Almendares river, the park is unique among urban green spaces in Cuba and the world for the diversity of its flora and fauna and the communities it is home to. in Cuba and the world, with its space dedicated to transitory recreational activity.
Nevertheless, this particular corner of Havana successfully combines its recreational, primary city lung and community settlement functions within which some 200,000 city dwellers reside. In order to control pollution, prevent its disappearance and inject life back into the waterway and its surroundings, works along the Almendares river banks within the GPMH have a social and community centered focus.
Motivated perhaps by nostalgia for childhoods past, the scene of young loves’ first sweet song or the simple fact that it provided a place to go to on weekends, the park began to become popular with the public again following the launch of a series of programs to attract visitors.
These programs have in recent times brought thousands of people together at the park on weekends to enjoy the variety of recreational and cultural activities.