This part of the city, built largely in the 20th century, contains attractive homes, tall apartments, and offices along wide, tree-lined boulevards and avenues. Central Havana, sometimes described as part of Vedado, is mainly a shopping district that lies between Vedado and Old Havana., one of the newer parts of the city, dating mainly from the 1920s.It is also the location of many hotels that before 1959 were frequented by U. Some of the suburban exclusivity was lost after the revolution, many of the suburban homes having been expropriated by the Castro government to serve as schools, hospitals, and government offices.The low hills on which the city lies rise gently from the deep blue waters of the straits.
Covering some three square miles and hugging the harbour, Old Havana includes Spanish colonial structures, towering Baroque churches, and buildings in Neoclassic style, as well as commercial property and less pretentious homes on the fringes.
To the north and west a newer section, centred on the uptown area known as Vedado, has become the rival of Old Havana for commercial activity and nightlife.
Another notable rise is the hill to the west that is occupied by the University of Havana and the Prince’s Castle.
Havana, like much of Cuba, enjoys a pleasant year-round climate that is tempered by the island’s position in the belt of the trade winds and by the warm offshore currents.
Cuba is endowed with a number of such harbours, but Havana’s on the north coast was prized above the others by the early colonizers.
With land on both sides of the harbour, the port was easily defended.One of the most picturesque is the Malecón, which extends southwestward along the coast from the port entrance to the Almendares River, under which it passes via a tunnel, emerging on the other side in Miramar as Avenida Quinta.Roughly paralleling the Malecón in the Vedado neighbourhood is Linea, another long avenue that passes under the river.Several private country clubs were converted to public recreational centres.From colonial times Havana has been noted for its parks and plazas.Habaneros, as its residents are called, gather day and night under the sprawling trees of these many green areas.