The Golden Mile of Old Havana

Photo Feature by Ernesto Gonzalez Diaz


HAVANA TIMES — In the city’s historic center, near the Obispo pedestrian boulevard, you can find the so-called “Golden Mile”, popularly known like this because it is the best conserved part of the city.

Possibly the most important tourist attraction center in Havana, here you can find cobbled streets, colonial architecture, hundreds of tourists passing by, attempts to combine modernity and history, like publicity boards on show, which are placed on some of its main corners, as well as its creole restaurants a la espagnol.

Two street musicians trying to earn a living, tourists with their cameras at the ready, a beggar among foreigners, somebody in love who gives a beautiful flower to his beloved and the omnipresent bicitaxis… These are some of the daily scenes from this part of the city.


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3 thoughts on “The Golden Mile of Old Havana

  • Years ago I was in there to buy a pastry and a chunk of the ceiling fell and just missed me, smashing onto the floor.

    I immediately fell down and started doing the funky chicken, writhing in pain and yelling how I was going to die.

    The beautiful girl behind the counter rushed to my side, yelling for a doctor. I looked up and told her all I needed was a kiss and I’d be instantly better.

    She looked at me for a moment, realized it was all joke and gave me a pretty hard smack up beside the head.

    I still see her now and then and we have a laugh. The chunk out of the ceiling went unrepaired for ages, but I see they’ve finally fixed it now.

  • Thank you for these great photos. I will look forward to the day I can visit Cuba, freely, without any pre-conditions.

  • I’ve often walked Obispo: first in the Summer of 1959, when it was still thronged with the old commercial stores (and I believe was open to vehicular traffic). Later, during my stint with the first Venceremos Brigade in ’69 and ’70–I tried to get some aspirin at the historic drug store (which later burned, but has since been rebuilt), but the answer was “no hay;” fortunately, my headache cleared up of its own). Have been back many times during the 2000’s, and have noted the constant rehab going on. With each succeeding trip from 2004 onwards, I have become ever better able to deflect the appeals of the jinateros/as; this was not the case with the friend a brought along on my latest trip. Despite my examples of dealing with the touts, he became exhausted by their constant appeals. This is one of the reasons i prefer the provincial cities (another being that I like smaller, more intimate, doses of civilization.). Still, Habana is the center of Cuban culture, and I did enjoy the Havana Mozart Festival my last trip. Most of its venues were in Habana Vieja. Nice to see the foto of Cafe Santo Domingo; upstairs is one of my favorites for an inexpensive lunch, and the downstairs is a great place for pastries–yum, yum! My favorite restaurant for inexpensive lunches and dinners, however, still remains the Hanoi on Tenentente Rey, a few blocks in from the Capitolio in the unrestored section of Habana Vieja. Its interior patio is a great place to hang out, listen to music, and have a leisurely lunch or dinner. This last trip I discovered dozens of paladares, though. I won’t report here, though, as they often go from great to not-so-great in a short time.

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