Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms), Havana

Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms), Havana (must see)

The Plaza de Armas is Havana's oldest square and was originally laid out in the 1520s. Most of the architecture seen here today is from the 1700s. All of old Havana's streets, Obispo, San Ignacio, Mercaderes, Oficios connect to the Plaza de Armas.

The 18th-century Palacio de los Capitanes Generales dominates the square. Interestingly, the street in front of the Palacio is lined with wooden tiles instead of the usual cobblestones. The Governor's home was once located here, and being fond of afternoon siestas, the Governor had them repave the road with wood to dull the noise from passing horses and carriages.

The center of the square is lined with magnificent royal palms. Don't miss the impressive marble statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who was instrumental in Cuba's path to independence.

The 19th-century Greek-style Neoclassical temple, El Templete marks the spot where Havana was founded in 1519. Another notable building is the five-star Hotel Santa Isabel, operating in the former 18th-century Palacio de Los Condes de Santovenia. The Museo Nacional de Historia Natural is located in the old U.S. Embassy.

On the north side of the square, you'll find the Renaissance-style Castillo de la Real Fuerza, built in the 16th century. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza was the first New World fortress to use triangular bulwarks.

Keep a lookout for a hidden treasure at the old book sale, held on the perimeter of the plaza six days a week.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Havana. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms)
Sight Location: Havana, Cuba (See walking tours in Havana)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Havana, Cuba

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Creating your own self-guided walk in Havana is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Discovered and conquered by Spanish colonists in the early 16th century, Havana has turned into a major religious center of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Although a communist regime is currently in power, many of the churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings have been preserved and still give a glimpse of the city’s religious heritage.

The old Havana Cathedral, located in a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Old Palaces Walking Tour

Old Palaces Walking Tour

Havana has been the seat of Cuba’s ruling gentry for centuries. Today, you can walk the streets of Old Havana and explore its palaces to get a glimpse into the city’s royal past. Although these structures now serve Havana’s citizens and visitors, they still catch your eye (and your camera lens!) with their architecture and history.

Start your trip with the ornate Presidential Palace,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Ever since Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928 until his death in 1961, he felt an intense connection with the people and culture of Cuba. Hemingway lived at Hotel Ambos Mundos during the 1930s, and began, wrote, and finished several novels there. Today, you can see some of Hemingway's belongings in Room 511.

Hemingway was a frequent patron at El Floridita, famous for its daiquiris....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The Spanish founded Havana in 1519. After French pirate Jacques de Sores ransacked the city in 1555, the Castle of the Royal Force was built to protect the city.

Havana became a major stopping point between the newly discovered Americas and ancient Europe. In the 1600s, Havana was a major shipbuilding port.

Old Havana is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic city has five...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles

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