Old Havana Rooftop Views


Photo Feature by Elio Delgado Valdes

HAVANA TIMES — What can we see from an Old Havana rooftop? Today we’ll look at some of the architectural jewels and landmarks of the Cuban capital and also some more recent constructions.


We can also contemplate Havana Bay, Casablanca and the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.

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26 thoughts on “Old Havana Rooftop Views

  • Havana was a beautifully maintained city before the 1959 revolution. It was an architectural jewel in the Americas. Fifty-five years of communist rule has devastated the city. A sorrowful shame.

  • Well said

  • Stevie Wonder can see the decay and dilapidation in Havana. So open or closed, the status of my eyes have little to do with the disaster that the Castros hath wrought.

  • Many of these buildings you mention are indeed beautiful on the outside because of their noble facades but have been destroyed on the inside. The wiring has been bastardized, the pipes stolen and interior walls replaced and propped up. The lack of decent maintenance on the interior has undermined the viability of any future reasonable renovation.

  • I don’t like Miami either but you really can’t compare the waterfront in Miami to the waterfront in Havana. South Beach in Miami compared to Miramar? As far as character goes, that sounds like what tourists on those double-decker buses say about buildings in Havana when they marvel that people are still living in them despite the state of decay. Surely you’ve seen when tourists take pictures of staircases and balconies that they are afraid to stand on themselves. Lots of character!

  • Detroit is pretty bad and as bad as it gets for an American city. But if you are comparing the two, Detroit remains a utopia in comparison to Havana. For the sake of intelligent debate, it is important that both sides remain truthful. Speculators in Detroit are already buying up properties at pennies on the dollar in anticipation of a major urban renewal. In ten years, Detroit will be singing a different tune. Do you really think Havana is ten years away from redemption?

  • Have you “ever” opened Your eyes mose?

  • Everyone is a .”fool”….except Griff

  • Count the number of decayed buildings in these cities. Official statistics report hundreds of thousands of buildings in need of extensive structural repairs. Thousands of people live in buildings which would be condemned & torn down in the US. One or two buildings collapse every week in Cuba. There are no cities in the US which compare to the extent and degree of decay found in Cuba.

    The thing about Philadelphia and Boston is that in time the decaying urban centres of these cities we’re rebuilt.mono comparable rejuvenation is happening in Havana. I will wager Detroit is rebuilt before the Cuban capital is.

    And there are other post-industrial capitalist cities looking very well today. If America is your standard for hell, what do you call the latest derumble in Centro?

  • THINGS decay; IDEAS are eternal. The PURE FORMS will endure forever, and from them NEW, BETTER THINGS SHALL ARISE!

  • Whether Philadelphia, or Boston, or the latest catastrophic example, Detroit, many American cities are in far worse shape than Habana. There have been several interesting photo essays of the collapse of Detroit, with ***** hotels fallen so quickly to ruin that $200,000 Beckstein pianos have been allowed to be vandalized in the ballrooms, with classic train terminals fallen to ruin, even with local cathedrals fallen to ruin. In Boston, whole sections, formerly middle-class, like Jamaica Plain, over the 1970’s and 1980’s fell to far worse ruin than any sections of Centro and Cerro. And when I travel south through the Connecticut River coridor I see post-industrial town after town fallen to ruin. Seems like your perception is a bit limited, Griffin; then again, as Milton said, “the mind can make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven.” You ignore the post-industrial capitalist hell.

  • The Schools of Art was beautiful once upon a time, but it has since decayed. You mention a few buildings in Cuba which are architecturally interestng. So I will withdraw my “none” and replace it with “very, very few”.

    The buildings of Havana need more than just some “attention”. The widespread decay of buildings, roads, sewers and infrastructure will take billions of dollars to repair, improve and replace. So while I do agree the city has much grace which still persists despite the decay and ruins, Havana is only a livable city for foreign tourists and the regime elite who can afford to live in the nicer districts.

    This documentary shows the heartbreaking nature of life in the buildings of Havana today:

    Habana – Arte Nuevo de Hacer Ruinas


  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions, just as the road to Socialist Utopia alway leads to the Gulag, the Killing Fields and the UMAP camp.

  • Agreed that Havana has much more character than Miami. Watching the George Zimmerman trial gave me a little more insight into the state of affairs in Florida. It is a very sick place.

  • He was doing what he thought was right at the time. He had good intentions.

  • Let´s be objective: there is beauty in Havana beyond any other consideration. Itñs European influence, it´s livability, its charm is undeniable. The city needs an enormous upgrade. Its infrastructure, housing and many other things need attention. There are buildings built after 1959 that are worth seeing like the Schools of Art, universally acclaimed, and some other across Havana and other parts of Cuba like the Cultural center in velasco, Holguin by US architect Walter Betancourt, also the author of several other buildings in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo. Then, there´s Las Terrazas, a housing complex built in the 1970s and also Las Ruinas restaurant in the outskirts of Havana. Yet, some isolated buildings that show the quality of Cuban architecture.

  • So you are one of the fools who joined the Million Ton Sugar Harvest, one of Castro’s most destructive & senseless schemes. Shame on you for helping to ruin Cuban agriculture!

  • You see, Moses, loving Castro means hating America. The whole point to praising the Cuban Revolution is to bash America. For the typically self-loathing American Leftist, Cuba is the exotic, romantic Other.

  • Be honest Wayne, these buildings look like crap. There is nothing charming or romantic about buildings that fall down and kill people. Havana loses at least two buildings a month and the situation is only getting worse. Are you sure this issue is where you want to defend the regime?

  • Thanks for the fotos, Elio! They bring back many fond memories (e.g. The Sierra Maestra Terminal, from which the S.S. Luis Arco Bergnes sailed in Feb. of ’70, after we had cut cane for two monts with the Brigada Venceremos during the Zafra de los Dies Millones; the Ambos Mundos Hotel, where my wife, daughters and I stayed during our 2004 visit (on the floor just below Hemingway’s old room, and on the opposite/back corner), and where I stayed during my 2006 visit); the wonderful wedding cake that is the old Bacardi Building; the Masonic Temple; the rooftops of the “unrestored” sections of Habana Vieja, where lives the seguera of my friend franco franco, etc. etc.

  • There are many beautiful modernist and post modernist buildings in the US, along with some ugly ones. At least Miami isnt falling into ruins.

    What is remarkable about Havana is that there are no post 1959 buildings of any distinction. None. Anything of beauty is pre-revolution. The character you praise is due to those fine buildings which remain, especially those few which have been restored. To see the decay and ruin which 55 years of misrule has wrought is truly heartbreaking.

    And then there are those grotesque death masks mounted on the facades of the ministry buildings flanking Revolution Square. Uhg!

  • Obviously you have never visited my beautiful City of San Francisco. I live in a meticulously restored gorgeous pre-1906 Victorian and there are thousands more like mine. Likewise, have you been to San Diego or Seattle? These are both very beautiful cities with 19th century architecture aplenty. In your constant rush to defend the Castros, you have erroneously attacked America….again.

  • Wilst in America, anything of beauty (from the 19th Century and early 20th Century) is usually knocked down and replaced by those malignant stalagtites known as skyscrapers. Havana has far more character than its sister across the pond (Miami), which can best be epitomized by that Pacho Alonso song, “!Feo! Feo!” (Exception: Miami Beach art deco hotels from the 1930’s through 1950’s).

  • If you are referring to me, I’m Canadian. I’ve been to Cuba and seen with my own eyes the crumbling buildings.

    The “self-righteous Americans sounding off” are those Leftists who demand that the Castro regime be allowed to perpetuate the oppression of the Cuban people.

  • Sounds like some self righteous American sounding Offffff

  • Looking at these photographs, two facts stand out:

    1. Anything of beauty in Havana was built before the Revolution
    2. Nearly everything is in decay and falling into ruins.

    ¡Hasta la ruinas Siempre!

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