Plaza Vieja (Old Square), Havana

Plaza Vieja (Old Square), Havana (must see)

The Old Square was founded in 1559 and originally known as New Square. It's the most architecturally interesting of the old squares in Havana; you'll find baroque-style mansions and art nouveau structures. Many of the buildings have arches and ornate stained-glass windows.

Today, the Old Square has a microbrewery, cafes, restaurants, and bars. A beautiful fountain was designed by Italian sculptor Giorgio Massari in the 18th century. Unfortunately, the original was destroyed, but a replica has been created.

The restored 17th century Santo Angel mansion is now a restaurant and an excellent spot to watch the action in the plaza.

The 1738 Palacio de Los Condes de Jaruco was built with local limestone. This baroque-style mansion houses an art gallery, the Galería La Casona. The second floor features three gorgeous stained glass windows.

The 1752 Casa de Juan Rico de Mat now houses the Fototeca de Cuba, which features both Cuban and international photographers.

The Casa del Conde de Lombillo is decorated with gorgeous murals and houses the Café Bohemia. For a look at Cuba's art nouveau architecture, don't miss the stunning 1906 Palacio Viena Hotel.

Why You Should Visit

Old Square is the only square in Havana without a religious institution. Its gorgeous, eclectic architecture spans centuries of Havana's history. Watch the square from one of the many cafes and restaurants and explore the art galleries.

Tips

Visit the Camera Obscura in the 20th-century Edificio Gómez Vila in the corner of Plaza Vieja. Edificio Gómez Vila is the plaza’s tallest building at 35 meters (115 feet). The Camera Obscura is a device invented by Leonardo da Vinci which projects a live 360-degree view into a darkened room. The Camera Obscura gives guests a fascinating look at the square and Old Havana through the periscope. You can also take photos from the rooftop of the Edificio Gómez Vila.

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 Vieja (Old Square) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza Vieja (Old Square)
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
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 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
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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