Cuba is both an essential part of the history of the Western hemisphere since 1492 and an island with a past and traditions entirely its own. Havana, its legendary capital, bears the traces of every stage of its history. In this volume, author Maria Luisa Lobo Montalvo presents the architecture and history of Havana—part of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site—in an accessible and engaging text and specially commissioned color photographs.
Discussion of each phase of the city's development are accompanied by detailed case studies of the period's most significant buildings, which include the architectural history and heritage of each structure as well as comprehensive new and archival documentation, including photographs, prints, paintings, and historical artifacts.
Throughout her presentation of the buildings, Lobo discusses the unique expression of design and decorative elements, customs and traditions that characterize the architecture of Havana. The oldest extant structures in the city are the great forts and fortifications, such as Castillo del Morro and Castillo de la Punta.
A great number of houses, from all periods of Havana's history and in all styles, simultaneously offer architectural and cultural history. Finally the great churches and convents—the Church of La Merced and the great baroque Havana Cathedral—and institutional structures—the magnificent Palace of the Captains General—show the public face of Havana, in which every neighborhood and every building proudly proclaims its individual origin.