Embassy of Russia in Havana
The Embassy of Russia in Havana, Cuba is a striking constructivist building in the Miramar district of the city. Some liken it to others to a syringe; the embassy is located at #6402 Quinta Avenida, between Calles 62 and 66, on a site of about 4 hectares. Construction began in December 1978 and was completed in November 1987; the embassy opened as the Soviet embassy, in an era when Soviet influence in Cuba was immense and transitioned to its status as the Russian Embassy. 25 December 1991 – 6 May 2000: Arnold Kalinin 27 June 2000 – 14 April 2008: Andrey Dmitriev 14 April 2008 – present: Mikhail Kamynin Cuba–Russia relations List of diplomatic missions of Russia
Havana is the capital city, largest city, major port, leading commercial center of Cuba. The city has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, it spans a total of 781.58 km2 – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region. The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain; the King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city; the sinking of the U. S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. The city is the center of the Cuban government, home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices; the current mayor is Marta Hernández of the Communist Party of Cuba. In 2009, the city/province had the third highest income in the country.
Contemporary Havana can be described as three cities in one: Old Havana and the newer suburban districts. The city extends westward and southward from the bay, entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbors: Mari melena and Antares; the sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay. The city attracts over a million tourists annually. Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982; the city is noted for its history, culture and monuments. As typical of Cuba, Havana experiences a tropical climate. Most native settlements became the site of Spanish colonial cities retaining their original Taíno names. Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Havana on August 25, 1515, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó, or more on the banks of the Mayabeque River close to Playa Mayabeque. All attempts to found. However, an early map of Cuba drawn in 1514 places the town at the mouth of this river.
Between 1514 and 1519 the Spanish established at least two different settlements on the north coast, one of them in La Chorrera, today in the neighborhoods of Vedado and Miramar, next to the Almendares River. The town that became Havana originated adjacent to what was called Puerto de Carenas, in 1519; the quality of this natural bay, which now hosts Havana's harbor, warranted this change of location. Pánfilo de Narváez gave Havana – the sixth town founded by the Spanish on Cuba – its name: San Cristóbal de la Habana; the name combines patron saint of Havana. Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands. Havana began as a trading port, suffered regular attacks by buccaneers and French corsairs; the first attack and resultant burning of the city was by the French corsair Jacques de Sores in 1555. Such attacks convinced the Spanish Crown to fund the construction of the first fortresses in the main cities – not only to counteract the pirates and corsairs, but to exert more control over commerce with the West Indies, to limit the extensive contrabando that had arisen due to the trade restrictions imposed by the Casa de Contratación of Seville.
Ships from all over the New World carried products first to Havana, in order to be taken by the fleet to Spain. The thousands of ships gathered in the city's bay fueled Havana's agriculture and manufacture, since they had to be supplied with food and other products needed to traverse the ocean. On December 20, 1592, King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City. On, the city would be designated as "Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies" by the Spanish Crown. In the meantime, efforts to build or improve the defensive infrastructures of the city continued. Havana expanded in the 17th century. New buildings were constructed from the most abundant materials of the island wood, combining various Iberian architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian characteristics. In 1649, an epidemic of the fatal Yellow fever brought from Cartagena in Colombia affected a third of the European population of Havana. By the middle of the 18th century Havana had more than seventy thousand inhabitants, was the third-largest city in the Americas, ranking behind Lima and Mexico City but ahead of Boston and New York.
During the 18th century Havana was the most important of the Spanish ports because it had facilities where ships could be refitted and, by 1740, it had become Spain's largest and most active shipyard and only drydock in the New World. The city was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War; the episode began on June 6, 1762, when at dawn, a British fleet, comprising more than 50 ships and a combined force of over 11,000 men of the Royal Navy and Army, sailed into Cuban waters and made an amphibious landing east of Havana. The British opened up trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War; the treaty gave
Lonja del Comercio building
The Lonja del Comercio building in Old Havana, Cuba served as the stock exchange in the capital until the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Today, it is an office building; the Lonja del Comercio first opened on March 1909. Set obliquely to the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís on its north side, it was designed in an eclectic-style by the engineering firm of Purdy and Henderson as a commodities trading building, it is in close proximity to Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis. The dome is crowned by a bronze statue of Mercury, a replica of the original work of the messenger god by Flemish artist Giovanni Bologna; the construction of the Lonja del Comercio began in 1907 and ended in 1909. The building was designed by architects Thomas Mur and Jose Toraya, the structural engineers were the U. S. company Purdy and Henderson, engineers for many important Havana buildings including El Capitolio building, the Gran Teatro de La Habana and the 1947 Radiocentro CMQ Building by the architect Martín Domínguez Esteban who designed the FOCSA Building in 1956.
The Parti pris of the building in plan is a perfect square and based on the classic 9 square cube problem, used, among others, by Peter Eisenman to design some of his houses and Andrea Palladio to design many of his villas. The five-story building has a steel frame structure. In 1939, an additional floor was added; the ground floor was used for warehouses and the stock market, the 2nd and 3rd floors provided office space, while the 4th and 5th floors, which adopted more sober ornamentation, were leased to customs brokers and trading companies. After the Cuban Revolution, the building like much of Havana suffered much deterioration through neglect
Radiocentro CMQ Building
The Radiocentro CMQ Building complex consisted of a radio and television production facility and office building in Calle L and La Rampa in El Vedado, Cuba and it was modeled after Raymond Hood's 1933 Rockefeller Center in New York City. With 1,650 seats, the theater first opened on December 23, 1947 under the name Teatro Warner Radiocentro, it was owned by brothers Goar and Abel Mestre. For the construction of this building, the Havana building authorities granted a permit in 1947 amending the ordinances that were in effect in El Vedado prohibiting the construction of buildings of more than three storeys; this statute was modified six years to expand the construction of up to four floors because many planners and owners claimed the need to authorize them to build taller buildings in the area. The building was set back from the property line five meters, adding four meters for an arcade, which allowed a distance from the road, while adjusting to the strong slope of 23rd Street, in this way the arcade became a wide gallery, which sub-divided the basement level.
This gallery became the covered hall of the cinema located in the upper corner with Calle L. The building had an expressionist curved cover of a large scale relating to the important intersection; this same scale was adopted in the restaurant, located on the opposite corner on M. Street; the wide gallery gives access to the lobby of the office building. The third building is set up by a prismatic piece on M Street set back to emphasize the two corners; the cinema with a capacity for 1,700 spectators was a Cinerama which used three projectors and a twenty-five-foot radius screen. It had a small stage in which short-term shows could be offered, in order to entertain the audience in the middle of the films; the radio station CMQ occupied part of the offices of the ten-story building, attached to the block of rental offices. In this area, a part of the land had been reserved for future television installations, which had not yet been built. In one of its studios, Studio Number 2 was the venue not only of radio program transmissions but that studio was the location of all or most of the RCA Victor recordings in Cuba from 1948 to 1959.
The label at the CMQ complex was a Cuban record label founded in 1959 by RCA Victor. It released music by several internationally successful artists such as Celia Cruz, Beny Moré, Orquesta Aragón and La Lupe; the ground floor, common for the entire complex, had different types of commercial establishments: several exhibition halls, a bank, a restaurant and a cafeteria. The pedestrian circulation was designed in such a way so that it made it necessary to pass in front of these premises; the Radiocentro CMQ Building of 1947, built on 23rd Street between Calles L and M in El Vedado, was the first mixed use building in Cuba. The architectural program of the building included businesses, offices and television studios, as well as the Cinerama Warner cinema; this project joined the expertise of the structural engineers, the U. S. firm Purdy and Henderson and the architects Martín Domínguez Esteban and Miguel Gastón and Emilio del Junco, all members of the ATEC. The building had a great impact; the building is a series of independent boxes, it was designed by the Basque architect Martín Domínguez Esteban.
Esteban had been the architect of the Hipódromo de la Zarzuela, along with Carlos Arniches. The CMQ Building was loosely modeled after Raymond Hood's Rockefeller Center.] The Radiocentro CMQ Building had an impact on many Cuban architects who subscribed to Modern architecture and buildings that would be built in the following years, such as the Hotel Habana Hilton across La Rampa designed by Welton Becket and associates with the Cuban architectural firm of Arroyo and Menéndez, the1958, the twenty-three story Edificio Seguro Medico by Antonio Quintana, among others. Walter Gropius, during a visit he made in 1949 to Havana referred to the Radiocentro CMQ Building to defend the need for architectural teamwork and collaboration among architects: It is impossible for the architect to know all of the equipment and installation requirements. In 1952 the CMQ Radio and TV Network planned to provide administrative offices, a radio station and housing for employees. CMQ selected a 110,000 sq. ft. plot of land costing 700,000 pesos.
The company Fomento de Hipotecas Aseguradas financed 80% of the cost of the residences and 60% of the commercial shops. El Banco Continental Cubano granted a credit of 6 million pesos. Martín Domínguez Esteban with Ernesto Gómez-Sampera designed the FOCSA Building, a modernist project aimed to provide housing for its workers and additional radio stations. Work began in February 1954 and finished in June 1956. At the time of construction it was the second largest residential concrete building in the world, second only to the Martinelli Building in São Paulo, Brazil, it surpassed the López Serrano Building in height, Cuba's tallest building. The FOCSA shares some curios design similarities with the Edificio del Seguro Médico of 1958 by Antonio Quintana including single loading of apartments, natural ventilation of the apartments and a small rear window under the kitchen cabinets marking vertically the center of the wall. In 1943 while France was under German occupation, a group of Paris artists in a café on the Rue Dauphineartists formed what they called an association with the intent to exhibit art as an answer to the Nazi party's description of Modern art as Degenerate art.
The group presented its first exhib
Floridita or El Floridita is a historic fish restaurant and cocktail bar in the older part of Havana, Cuba. It lies at the end of Calle Obispo, across Monserrate Street from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana; the establishment is famous for its daiquiris and for having been one of the favourite hangouts of Ernest Hemingway in Havana. The bar now boasts a life size bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway positioned in his favourite spot at the end of the bar. On a small plaque hanging in La Floridita, hangs Hemingway's signed quote: "My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita".. The bar opened in 1817 with the name "La Piña de Plata" in the place it still occupies, on the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets. 100 years the large number of North American tourists persuaded the owner to change the name to "El Florida". In 1914, the Catalan immigrant Constantino Ribalaigua Vert started working in the bar as cantinero. Constantino, nicknamed Constante, became the owner in 1918.
Constante is credited for inventing the frozen daiquiri in the early 1930s, a drink that became linked to the fame of the place, whose motto is now "la cuna del daiquiri". The bar became a school of skilled cantineros specialised in cocktails prepared with fresh fruit juices and rum, whose traditions are still preserved by the disciples of Constante; the writer Ernest Hemingway frequented the bar, at the end of Calle Obispo, a short walk from the Hotel Ambos Mundos where he maintained a room from 1932–1939. Hemingway's children noted that in the early 1940s Hemingway and his wife "Mary" continued to drive from their house outside Havana to the Floridita for drinks; the establishment today contains many noticeable memorabilia of the author, with photographs, a bust and, more a life-size bronze statue at the end of the bar near the wall, sculpted by the Cuban artist José Villa Soberón. Hemingway wasn't the only famous customer of the bar; the establishment was frequented by many generations of foreign intellectuals and artists.
Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and Graham Greene, the British novelist who wrote Our Man in Havana, were frequent customers. The place still preserves much of the atmosphere of the 1940s and 1950s, with the red coats of the bartenders matching the Regency style decoration that dates from the 1950s, although now most of its customers are occasional tourists. Besides the cocktails, the place is reputed for its expensive sea food. "El Floridita". World's Best Bars. Retrieved 16 May 2016. Hemingway in El Floridita Hernández, Reina. "The Most Famous Patron of the Most Famous Bar in Havana". CubaNow.net. Retrieved 12 December 2009
Iglesia Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje, Havana
The Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje, is located in Havana Vieja on Calle Cristo between Lamparilla y Teniente Rey. In an epoch in which transatlantic crossings were risky, its name is due in part to the popularity that it acquired during colonial times as this temple was dedicated to travelers and navigators. Travelers and sailors came before leaving on a long journey in search of good luck, to pay their respects upon arriving back on land. During the republican era the devotion to Santa Rita was added to the church. In the place that today occupies the church, in 1604 the congregants of the Third Franciscan Order, erected a modest hermitage called Ermita del Humilladero and had as its function the twelfth or final station of the Via Crucis; this ceremony started from the Convento de San Francisco and crossed the city from east to west along the Calle de Las Cruces or Calle de la Amargura. Only the enclosure and the cover of the central nave remain from that building. In 1640 the current Plaza del Cristo was built next to the church, known as Plaza Nueva and the chapel became Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje, replacing the one that existed from the previous century in the neighborhood of Campeche.
In 1693 the temple was enlarged and converted into auxiliary of the Parochial Major Church by Bishop Diego Evelino de Compostela, who elevated it to a parish in 1703. In 1899 the church was given to the parents of the Order of San Agustín, who restored it and added other buildings, it was the second parish of the city, after the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo. The Augustinians began restoration efforts of Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje following the hurricane of 1926 when the architectural firm of Leonardo Morales y Pedroso, architects of El Colegio de Belen, was contracted to renovate Santo Cristo; the original stone walls were demolished so as to expand the transept, new stonework replaced the original parts of the church. Decorative elements were modified; the aisles were enlarged and Tuscan columns were added. The crucifix of the original hermitage was hung church's back wall. 1993, the ceiling of the presbytery collapsed. The wood ceiling has been restored since then. Distinguished for its simplicity, symmetrical the baroque façade is notable for its twin hexagonal towers: the tower of the Epistle and the tower of the Gospel.
The latter contains four bells, the oldest was cast in the year 1515. There is a flaring arch over the entryway; the nave has a Hispano-moorish wood ceiling. The image of Christ crucified is an ancient crucifix, over three centuries old; the Iglesia Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje was the last station on the Lenten Via Crucis, a procession that started at the old St Francis church and proceeded to el Santo Cristo through Calle Amargura. The church and its Plaza have received penitents in need of spiritual rest and comfort for centuries. In the mid-17-century, three blocks southeast of Parque Central and two blocks south of Calle Obispo, the small plaza takes its name from the Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje. Plaza del Cristo was created in 1640; the hermitage was the twelfth station of the Vía Crucis, which took place annually during Lent and led along Calle Amargura from the Plaza de San Francisco. The Baroque Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje now covers the site of the old hermitage on the north-western side of the plaza.
Of the original building, only the enclosure and painted wood ceiling still remain. The square was known as Plaza de las Lavanderas. Graham Greene's used this small plaza for the setting of his protagonist Wormold was “swallowed up among the pimps and lottery sellers of the Havana noon” in his film Our Man in Havana. Wormold and his daughter Milly lived at Lamparilla #37—a fictional address occupied by a small plaza; as in most of Navana, the predominantly residential 19th-century buildings surrounding the dilapidated square have fallen into a sad state of disrepair. In 2014, a comprehensive restoration was initiated by the City Historian's Office. Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje on YouTube
The FOCSA Building was built from 1954 to 1956. Named after the contracting company Fomento de Obras y Construcciones, Sociedad Anónima, it is 121 metres tall and located in the Vedado section of Havana; the structural engineer was Luis Sáenz Duplace, professor of engineering at the University of Havana and of the firm Sáenz, Cancio & Martín. The architects were Ernesto Gómez Sampera and Martín Domínguez Esteban who designed the Radiocentro CMQ Building; the civil engineers were Manuel Padron. Gustavo Becquer and Fernando H. Meneses were the electrical engineers respectively; the building is located on M and Calles 19 and N in el Vedado. In 1952 the CMQ Radio and TV Network located at Calle Rampa and M in el Vedado planned to provide administrative offices, a radio station and housing for employees. CMQ selected a 110,000 sq. ft. plot of land costing 700,000 pesos. The company Fomento de Hipotecas Aseguradas financed 80% of the cost of the residences and 60% of the commercial shops. El Banco Continental Cubano granted a credit of 6 million pesos.
Work began in February 1954 and finished in June 1956. At the time of construction it was the second largest residential concrete building in the world, second only to the Martinelli Building in São Paulo, Brazil, it surpassed the López Serrano Building in height, Cuba's tallest building. In the early 1960s middle-class owners of residential floor units had their properties nationalized by the current government. In the 1970s the building housed Soviet and Eastern bloc specialists and advisors and the ground store supermarket was for non-Cubans only. In 2000 an elevator cable snapped killing one person. In the 2000s the building was repainted and renovated and much of the building was given over to temporary housing of foreign guest workers from Venezuela. A penthouse in the FOCSA was used as the apartment of the protagonist Sergio Carmona Mendoyo, played by Sergio Corrieri, in the film Memories of Underdevelopment, a 1968 film written and directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Additional concrete massing at the center of the Y, apartments F and G, help resist lateral forces.
The walls extend through the rear wall to support the corridors. The wall and slab structural system form a three dimensional lattice resisting horizontal forces. A high strength concrete mix from 3,000 to 7,000 psi. was used. The tower and corridors show prefabricated panels on the exterior. Reinforced concrete columns support the stories below; the residential block, the'Y,' is supported by thirteen eleven inch walls. The building was chosen in February 1997 by the Unión Nacional de Arquitectos e Ingenieros de la Construcción de Cuba as one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering; the FOCSA has 39 floors 4 of which are dedicated to commercial use, two floors are for parking. Twenty eight floors have thirteen residences each; the thirty fourth floor has six penthouses on a plinth made possible by the structural walls which stop below this floor. Each penthouse is the size of two apartments; the penthouses patio-courtyards open to the sky. All apartment floors are terrazzo on cinders; the site may may be divided into three parts: 1- A shallow, mixed use “wall and slab” Y of 35 floors above a base.
2- The podium of outdoor amenities including two swimming pools and a club for guests and tenants. The podium covers the entire site. 3- Four floors of building services, commercial spaces and parking for 500 cars located below the podium Apartments are one half level up or down from the corridors. A typical floor contains 13 apartments, five have a maid's room; the cost of the apartments was $21,500 for the larger units in the center and $17,500 for the smaller ones. It was stipulated that an additional $30 per each floor was charged the higher up in the building the unit was located, the highest apartments were the first to be were sold. Located in the tower, are the building's four tenant and two service elevators and two sets of stairs. One of the service elevators is dedicated for the observation floor; the other service elevator is linked to the service corridors. The tower contains offices on the 37th floor for the restaurant, “La Torre,” on the 38th floor and an observation room on the 39th floor.
The podium contains a clubhouse and swimming pools for adults and children. It has lighted paths and benches. There is a ramp to the street located at the corner of 19th and M, the podium was used as a staging area during the construction of the project. Below the podium at the fourth level are building offices. Marked by a two lane covered porte-cochѐre at street level is the building's entrance. Inside is the building desk, a large waiting area and the tenant elevator lobby; the restaurant “El Emperador” and a supermarket a bank, post office and two radio stations are on the ground floor. Various cafes situated around the perimeter of the site along a double loaded corridor traversing the site from Calle M to N. Light filters to the interior corridor from openings in the podium. At the second floor are the administrative offices for the building; the wall extend through the rear wall to support the corridors on the outside of the building. They are separated by twenty inches to provide a continuous space for apartment ventilation and views= to the west.
There are three sets of tenant corridors every other floor. The center corridor is; the service and tenant corridors are unrecognizable from the exterior, except