Havana Seen from its Corridors and Columns

Photo Feature by Ernesto Gonzalez Diaz

If you didn’t exist, my dream city in light and seafoam,

built, what would I be without your corridors,

your columns, your kisses, your windows

If you didn’t exist, I’d invent you, my city Havana.

-Fayad Jamis

HAVANA TIMES – Renowned Cuban writer and intellectual Alejo Carpentier, who won Spain’s Cervantes Prize in Literature, wrote a moving and interesting essay called “The City of Columns”, in which he observed the beauty and eccentric architecture in Havana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Nearly all of Havana’s sidewalks built during this time gave us long common corridors, sometimes a block long, with porticos, columns, colonnades that mix different architectural styles in a very unique way.

Carpentier himself called this mixture a “style without style.”  The main function of these corridors was to give shade to passers-by and residents in a tropical city where the sun sometimes beats down far too hard.

Columns, colonnades, corridors and porticos are in abundance across the city, and some have been perfectly conserved, while others are badly damaged and have been renovated, but they refuse to lose their dignity in beauty and charm despite all of this.  A mixture of different architectural styles, just like the Cuban people themselves, give the city a unique identity and magic.

In Old Havana, the most touristic and better conserved part of the city, there are buildings that are truly majestic and have great architectural value. However, in this article, we’ve decided to present pictures of less touristic places such as the sidewalks of 10 de Octubre, Ayesteran, Infanta, Carlos III, Reina, Monte and Palacio de Aldama.

See more photo galleries here.