Havana’s Reina Street

Photo Feature by Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 15 — This is not an epoch of kings and queens. Maybe that’s why crud and collapsing buildings are what reigns on this street where — despite it all — one can still find true architectural beauty.

You only have to walk slowly so your eyes reach the points where the columns of the porticos end. That’s where there still remain classical Baroque or Gothic elements.

This is calle Reina, where commerce once flourished in trades of all types.

Today there are still a few shops and some thriving independently owned businesses, though all of them have a faded look. They suffer from both the soot and long-term neglect.

Recently some of them were given a fresh coat of green paint in an effort to remedy what had been left in the hands of time.

It’s a relief to people’s eyes, even though we know the paint won’t last longer than the next good rain. It does little more than hide moisture built up in the walls, the catalyst of the collapse that can occur at any moment in yet another building here.

In any case, going up and down Reina Street is a must if you visit Havana.

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5 thoughts on “Havana’s Reina Street

  • Have to agree, at least in part, with rob, that this area contains a certain haunting beauty, especially with some of the (barely) surviving classical elements amidst the ruins. Although in certain neighborhoods up here there have been revivals and rehabilitations of 19th and early 20th Century buildings, in just as many places (e.g. Jamaica Plain in Boston, and the whole post-industrial city of Detroit) where the buildings have been abandoned and allowed to deteriorate beyond redemption. I guess this just reflects the passage of time. As Socrates said, only the realm of ideas reflect eternity; everything else, especially things, deteriorate–eventually to dust.

  • Ed, you are right.

  • Yes, Reina Street was renamed Bolivar Avenue, but people use the old name.

  • FYI- Raina Street is named after the church on ‘Raina Street’ it is now renamed after Simon Bolivar. right?

  • i have been through this area myself and can attest to the fact that it does indeed posess a certain haunting beauty, my main complaint with this area, as well as everywhere else that i went in cuba, was the utter lack of options when it came to shopping. i know that that will sound trivial on a ‘socialist’ webpage but i suppose i do not care if it sounds that way…when i travel and find myself wandering aimlessly about i enjoy, and indeed sometimes need, to stop somewhere and have a seat and enjoy a beverage of some sort. it was very hard to find anywhere to do such a thing in cuba. and when there was such a place, it was usually the only such place around, which was a letdown as my favourite part of traveling is the crowded and narrow streets, with shops of all kinds and an atmosphere full of energy. my experiences in cuba have shown a vice grip of some sort, stifling creativity, choking the atmosphere of all energy.

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