The incredibly  detailed model of  Old Havana (Habana Vieja) just turned 17 years old.  It was finished in 1999, after 3 years work. The 1:500 scale model of the old part of the city has extreme detail of the facades, the columns, windows…every detail of every building. It just seems unbelievable that this could be done. It is a perfect little replica of the original part of Havana.

Model of Old Havana
Unbelievably detailed model of Old Havana

The Cuba website Diario de Cuba just published details on the 17th anniversary of the model. (The website is in Spanish, but has an English translaation button). My next trip to Cuba will be devoted strictly to Havana. I am making a list of things to see, and this will be on my list. (I know, this has to be the ultimate nerd thing to do, but I can’t help it.) I had heard this mentioned before, but didn’t know how fantastic it was.

The model was the brain child of the City Historian, Eusebio Leal. He must be one powerful person, with all the preservation of old buildings he is making happen. I don’t know how this process works in Cuba, but preservation in Houston, Texas, is extremely difficult. We have finally started making headway, but we are mainly of the attitude, “tear it down and build new.”

The Old Havana mock-up is located on the Calle Mercaderes 114, between Bishop and Obrapía.

I commend Mr Leal for his work and perseverance. I cannot imagine what he has to do to make preservation work in a city where thousands of century old buildings , or older, are crumbling around him.

See other Things to do in Havana.

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