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The Revolution Square in Havanа, Cuba

The Revolution Square /Plaza de la Revolución/ is one of the biggest squares in South America. More than 1 000 000 people fit in the square during the May Day Parade. Historically it becomes recognizable in January 1959 as the centre of the Cuban celebrations following the triumph of the Revolution. Fidel Castro’s tribune can also be found in the square. The leader’s speeches often used to last up to 8 hours and giving them he used to touch upon various topics – from the danger of a new world war to Maria’s problems with her refrigerator or somebody’s malfunctioning flushing cistern…

 I have attended several May Day Parades. People gather at particular locations starting from 4 am. All nearby streets are closed. The police are everywhere. Every factory makes its own poster. For example, cigar factories make a big model of a Cuban cigar, and workers from the rum factory one of a bottle. What can I say – a real mood booster. 🙂 The parade after-party is a typical Cuban one – conga, rum, and dancing… Let’s not forget that Cubans have always been world champions in turning any occasion into a fiesta.

The square hosts the buildings of some of the most important ministries – of interior affairs, of communications, technologies, the State Council Building, as well as the Reception Building of the Cuban President. Except for the May Day parades, which still take place, the square hosted the funeral ceremony of Fidel Castro in 2016. I saw people waiting for two days to pay their last respects to their leader. Read more about Havana here.

The square is as big as 72 000 sq m.  The idea of building the square dates back to the beginning of the 40s when they launched an international competition for building a memorial of Jose Marti in this part of the Cuban capital, where there used to stand the Hermitage of the Catalan.

Sights to visit here:

  • The Memorial of Jose Marti. Jose Marti was a Cuban poet, philosopher, journalist, translator, and publisher, known also as the “Apostle”. His memorial statue consists of 52 marble blocks and is 18 m tall, placed in 1958. In the five rooms inside the memorial, you can find 79 quotations by Jose Marti engraved with golden letters. The statue is surrounded by six pillars, which represent the six Cuban provinces. Right next to the statue the party leaders usually greet the crowds of people during the manifestations. With its height of 112 m the obelisk behind the statue is the highest point in the city of Havanа. The obelisk is approximately 28 m wide, it has a 90-metre inner elevator and a staircase consisting of 579 stairs. The view from the top is incredible! I strongly recommend you to pay a visit if you have time. The entrance fee is 2-3 CUC. Read here more about Cuban currency.
  • The impressive building, situated in the north part of the island, is the Ministry of Interior Affairs famous for its huge wall-painting of Che Guevara on its facade (a copy of a photograph of the leader made by Alberto Korda in 1960). Below Che Guevara’s image, there is an inscription: “Hasta la Victoria Siempre!” or “Ever onward to victory!” Find out here about the Che Guevara Mausoleum memorial in Santa Clara.
  • In the east part of the square, you will find the National Library “Jose Marti”
  • The National Theatre in Cuba. Here you can enjoy various works of art such as “Swan Lake” – after all, Cuba is one of the countries most famous for its ballet traditions.