Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral and Sheena

Plaza de la Catedral and Around in Old Havana

In Cuba, North America by Erik1 Comment

What’s the top attraction on TripAdvisor in Havana? Technically it is the Cathedral in Plaza de la Catedral, but I prefer the surrounding area more. Find out why below.

Plaza de la Catedral

Believe it or not, Plaza de la Catedral is the newest main plaza in Old Havana. The crown jewel of course is…you guessed it, the Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana. The buildings all have a baroque style, and are pleasant for a quick snap. However, besides one quiet restaurant the square doesn’t have any personality.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral

The restaurant on the left adds the only ambiance to a somber plaza.

The surrounding buildings include Casa de Lombillo and Palacio del Marques de Arcos on the east side, the Palacio de los Condes de Casa Bayona with the skippable Museo de Arte Colonial (2 CUC) on the south side, and a restaurant in Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras on the west side.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral Palacio de los Condes de Casa Bayona and Museo de Arte Colonial and Casa de Lombillo and Palacio del Marques de Arcos

Palacio de los Condes de Casa Bayona is on the right with Museo de Arte Colonial inside. Casa de Lombillo and Palacio del Marques de Arcos are on the left.

Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana

Perhaps I’m jaded after spending three months touring Mexico’s plazas and churches, but a church is just a church. This is especially true when you have to be a magician to get inside any in Old Havana. The baroque exterior with asymmetrical design is pleasant to look at, but not life changing.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana

This is the #1 attraction in Havana. Impressed?

The conversion from church to cathedral took place in 1787, when the diocese of Havana was created. Another interesting fact is that the remains of Christopher Columbus were entombed here until they were sent to Spain in 1898.

Taller Experimental de Grafica

The highlight of Plaza de la Catedral for me was actually this alleyway just off the southwest corner. There are a few places to grab a bite, with a gallery located just behind the umbrellas.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral Taller Experimental de Grafica Alleyway

Sneak past the tables into a hidden world of art in Plaza de la Catedral.

Although small, their artwork was creative.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral Taller Experimental de Grafica Art

Maybe more childish than creative on second thought.

It was also possible to see their working space that filled the majority of the building.

Old Havana Plaza de la Catedral Taller Experimental de Grafica Workshop

See the artwork before they hang it in the gallery.

Calle Obispo

At some point during your time exploring Old Havana, you will wander down Calle Obispo. Like the head cheerleader in high school, you will be drawn to it without knowing why. Somehow the street just exudes confidence, and makes everyone move to the rhythm as they make their way from end to end. Along the way are restaurants with live bands, art galleries, an artisan market, and plenty of shops.

Old Havana Calle Obispo Artisan Market

Watch Calle Obispo transition from a market street to restaurants filled with live bands at night.

Food

If you head one block past the University building on Calle Obispo where everyone is glued to their electronic devices, then you will come across a small piece of heaven.

Old Havana Calle Obispo WiFi Hotspot

Is your slice of heaven Wi-Fi or ice cream? We know what these people prefer.

On a hot day in Old Havana, you can’t beat a rich ice cream cone for 3 pesos. It is a small stall so make sure you are paying attention. You also have to eat it fast as it literally will disappear before your eyes.

Old Havana Calle Obispo Peso Ice Cream

This is the real deal ice cream for only US$0.12!

***The Final Word – Plaza de la Catedral is a must see, but don’t linger as Plaza Viaje has more life.***

What vendors would you find appropriate for Plaza de la Catedral?

5 Shovels

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in May 2016

Comments

  1. It looks impressive to me but then I’m not there to take in the entire view nor have I seen the other cathedrals in Mexico.

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