| Paseo del prado (marti)|
It's dirty and grimy and the exotic trees that line the edges are in decay, with little of the tender loving care that trees in London or Barcelona receive... the Paseo del Prado begins at the Parq Central and stretches north-east to the malecon at the sea wall Its current design goes back to 1927, when the terrazzo pavement was laid and the eight guardian lions were installed. Once, its elegance rivalled the Champs Elyssey. It was an avenue where open-air carriages displayed the aristocracy of Havana.
To-day it's more like the forum of Ancient Rome, a meeting place where People come just to "hang out". Children play their "recess" games here, Lovers pretend they are on vacation, and families come together. The Beautiful buildings that line the Paseo, some in ruins', speak of the grandeur of 'art deco' Havana. A stroll on the Paseo has a way of taking one back to happier times.
Warm Facades, Habana Vieja
Some are so beautiful they make you cry. They're the ones like Warm Facades, Habana Vieja. I was sad when I saw the image on paper because it looked even more stunning than I had remembered - the wonderful colours, the shutters, slowly falling to pieces, The beautiful Spanish grill covering the left wall, reminiscent of Granada and Cordoba, the height of Islamic grandeur in spain. Someday it will be restored and I will be sad, again, when I see it, but for another reason. The beauty of time and age will be covered with new paint.
Images of Havana, Cuba,
Habana Vieja Is the Spanish name For the old walled city which, in 1982 was declared "part Of the cultural heritage of Humanity" by Unesco. That was twenty years ago and while some of the plazas & structures, like the Casa de la Obrapia, have been restored, many in their neo-classical grandeur, are crumbling to ruins. "Humanity" in the future may not see Habana vieja as we see it to-day. God forbid its demise. It is a time warp, frozen in poverty and neglect, stunningly beautiful with all the layers of paint exposed. For me, it was like Pompeii, with real people still there.
Just as Florence is the cultural soul of Italy and Paris of France, so too, is Havana the soul of Cuba. It has survived wars, revolutions, plagues and the mafia. It has even, to its everlasting credit, survived the American trade embargo. So, through poverty, shortages, hurricanes and countless other problems, the people have pulled together to keep their city and their country moving forward. No place I have visited has moved me as much as this city has. Habana vieja, Time warp , is a labour of love.
Le miserable, Habana Vieja
The facades of habana vieja Speak of times past, when horse & carriage were driven through doorways fourteen feet high and six wide, carrying beautiful ladies who, legend has it, never set foot on a dusty street. That was then and this is now. A young man with head bent sits in a doorway that looks out to the sea, in what was once prime real estate. The carriage gate is roughly boarded up and a pair of tiny pants hang in the balcony window above the door. sea spray, driven by hurricane winds, has eroded white-washed walls. It would cost a fortune To 'Faux-finish' walls like these.
Today, in Habana vieja, these images are everywhere you look, haunting reminders of an elegant past and an uncertain future.
Vintage Yellow Taxi, Habana Vieja
The vintage taxis in Havana have made The city a museum of Automobile design. No Place on earth has such an abundance of great old Cars, some from the "roaring Twenties", most in pristine shape, like vintage yellow taxi. None stirs the imagination more Than the legendary "de soto",the Car named after the Spanish soldier-explorer Searching for riches in the new world and whose wife is the famous statue on a tower in Havana looking out to sea watching for Hernando's return, in vain. The old cars are a testament to the genius of Cuban mechanics who keep them running, and the new cars one sees in Havana only make us realize just how good the old designs really were and how nostalgic an experience driving once was.
The Bride, Casa de la Obra pia, Habana Vieja
The bride appeared almost like magic. The arches, soaring thirty feet above the courtyard, needed something to give them scale and there she was, if only for a moment or two, but long enough.
The casa de la obra pia is a grand old Spanish home, beautifully restored to its original Splendor. The infrared film lent a surreal touch to all the images at this site.