A Havana Barrio with Sharp Contrasts (97 Photos)

San Leopoldo, Centro Habana

Photo feature by Ernesto Gonzalez Diaz

HAVANA TIMES – The neighborhood of San Leopoldo stands between Belascoain and Galiano Streets in Centro Habana. Both streets, as well as their surroundings, show buildings built in the first half of the last century. There are some exceptions, such as the Hermanos Amejeiras hospital, built in 1982 with a modern, simple and elegant style, on the corner of Belascoain and San Lazaro.

Map of the San Leopoldo barrio from the 1950s.

The contrast is striking. Properly preserved buildings, showing the beauty of their original architecture, mixed with others that seem taken from a war movie. The latter, semi-destroyed or poorly maintained, even endanger the lives of those who live in these buildings.

We observe beautiful walkways with others practically in ruins. A mixture that is the product of neglect and the inability to maintain a work that could be part of the architectural heritage of an area of ​​the city that seems magical, mysterious and beautiful.

There are very interesting buildings such as the Deavullile Hotel or those located at the intersections of Zanja and Galiano and Zanja and Belascoain. These give a distinctive touch to the neighborhood. Also, I include in this work an image of the Primavera sculpture, by Cuban artist Rafael Miranda San Juan, which was unveiled in 2015 at Galeano and Malecón.

Many of these buildings were transformed into tiny tenements, exacerbating their maintenance and conservation problems. Others passed into the hands of state companies and entities without the necessary resources to solve the construction problems.

See more photo features here on Havana Times.

One thought on “A Havana Barrio with Sharp Contrasts (97 Photos)

  • February 9, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Excellent ! I know this neighborhood very well and have walked all of its streets trying to meet as many people as possible. Your photography, as always, captures the feeling very well. I like your varied angles and different approaches to processing.

    I have followed your photography for many years and you have really grown as a photographer.

    We share an affection for Centro, it’s buildings and its people. 80% of my Cuba photos are from Centro. We should meet and shoot together the next time I can come to Habana. Ken

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