A day in Havana for its 500 birthday
The Cuban capital is celebrating five centuries of existence, and we’re celebrating too, with a one-day tour of Old Havana – the oldest part of the city – to experience the local culture and art.
Cuba was one of the first American colonies to which African slaves were taken, beginning in the late 16th century. Their different cultures have gradually formed its particular passion for art. The capital celebrates its 500th anniversary in November, and many of its associations have dedicated their annual programmes of events to the anniversary. Fly to Havana from 42,500 Avios (return flight) and don’t miss the celebrations.
1 Visit the Manos gallery
The Asociación Cubana de Artesanos Artistas is also joining the celebration. Its main goal is to preserve cultural traditions and to support the new forms of local artisanship, always based on respect for the environment. Scheduled events at the Manos gallery in Old Havana include two exhibitions this summer:
12/07 at 4.00pm
Doll-Making Biennial, an exhibition on handcrafted doll-making that shows how different materials and techniques are used.
16/08 at 4.00pm
Art in Fibre, where Yosvany Martínez – a painter and member of the Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales – shows different items made with natural fibres
2 Explore native fashion in Clandestina
In 2015, Cuban-born Idania del Rio and her partner, Basque-born Leire Fernández, created the Clandestina fashion shop and brand. It’s the first private fashion brand in Cuba and the pioneer in having an online shop as well as its physical shop in Old Havana. Their avant-garde creations are made with recycled materials, a sense of humour, ingenuity and a lot of commitment to local talent. "99% Cuban design" is one of their slogans.
3 San Isidro, local art district
Art is transforming the old port district of San Isidro in the southern part of Old Havana. Just steps from the streets most popular with tourists, the Galería Taller Gorría gallery was opened. A community project created and led by the actor Jorge Perugorría along with son Adán to offer local artists a space and platform and to revitalise the neighbourhood. They will soon open new galleries in the neighbourhood in spaces rehabilitated by the artists themselves.
4 Creation for not sleeping
For the last five years, a former early-20th-century power station has become a can’t-miss part of Havana’s nights. The Fábrica del Arte Cubano (FAC) has a number of exhibition spaces (changed every three months), visual arts and concerts of all kinds of genres (two every night from Thursday through Sunday), all for the ticket price of two convertible pesos (less than two euros). When the performances finish, people continue dancing among the works of art until early morning.