HAVANA TIMES — At nearly 500 years of existence, the city of Havana receives today recognition as one of the seven “Wonder Cities of the World”, awarded by the Swiss foundation New7Wonders, reports dpa news.
The “Wonder Cities” were chosen by popular vote online by millions of people. The list includes La Paz (Bolivia), Doha (Qatar), Durban (South Africa), Beirut (Lebanon), Vigan (Philippines) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
The choice of the seven “Wonder Cities” was the third vote promoted by the New7Wonders Foundation, which previously chose seven monuments and seven nature wonders of the world.
The main event will be held today at the esplanade of the San Salvador de la Punta Castle at the entrance of Havana Bay, where the monument and a memorial plaque with the recognition granted will be unveiled.
Havana was originally founded under the name of Villa of San Cristobal of Havana on November 16, 1519. Its previous site, in 1514, was further south but five years later was moved north to its present location.
Its original name is the combination of its Catholic patron, San Cristobal, and the chief Habaguanex, who led the natives of the area.
Since 1982 its colonial historic center is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and thanks to reconstruction efforts led by the City Historian Eusebio Leal, today its monumental architecture is one of Cuba’s biggest tourist attractions.
The traditional coastline promenade, known as the Malecon, the Baroque Cathedral, the castles of the Three Kings of the Morro or that of the Castle del Principe are just some of the attractions.
As part of the celebrations for the recognition of “Wonder City,” starting today until June 11 a series of cultural activities will take place in squares, parks and streets of the area.
On Tuesday night, a gala at the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater features the participation of groups including the Buena Vista Social Club, the National Lyrical Theatre, and the Lizt Alfonso Ballet.