Havana celebrates 496th birthday with new maritime promenade

Posted: 18-Nov-15 16:01

Yesterday Havana turned 496-years-old and to mark the occasion the Office of the Historian of the City celebrated the completion of its latest restoration project in the oldest part of the city: The Maritime Paula Promenade (El Paseo Maritimo de Paula). Down Avenida del Puerto and facing the Alameda de Paula this floating promenade was inaugurated, and those who didn't mark the occasion by heading to the usual annual festivity taking place in front of the ceiba tree at El Templete could be seen exploring the new structure.

Havana celebrates 496th birthday with new maritime promenade

As it is now customary in Havana to mark the occasion of its birthday, yesterday many of its inhabitants gathered around El Templete and its iconic ceiba tree (the site of Havana’s foundation 496 years ago) to make a wish.

But unlike every other 16th November there was something extra special to celebrate in the city: the inauguration of one Havana’s latest construction projects – El Paseo Maritimo de Paula.

Roughly translating as Paula’s Maritime Promenade and named after the tree-lined avenue it faces (Alameda de Paula) this latest development is part of one of the many restoration projects being carried out along the oldest part of the city by the Office of the Historian of the City.

Now completed to an aesthetically pleasing finish, the new floating platform has become the city’s newest focal point, a place to relax and take in beautiful sea views.

An excited neighbour who in the space of two days has managed to bring her whole family around to witness the new structure gushed:

"It’s beautiful to see it at night, when they turn on the lights."

But it’s not all boom and glory according to Diario de Cuba, as the new development is ringing a few alarm bells in the local community. After taking a few selfies, Luis, a passer-by, described and interviewed by Maria Matienzo Puerto on her article in Diario de Cuba, worried about the new platform’s safety:

"Do we have to wait until an accident happens? The solution can’t be to put up a sign that says ‘Caution: children stay away’ or one translated for the benefit of distracted tourists."

Further commenting on the new floating platform, another neighbour expressed his views:

"In the event of a hurricane, there’s nothing to fear, this bay has a T-shape and the swell won’t get this far. And as it is detachable, worse comes to worst, they’ll dismantle it and we won’t see it again. The only problem would be that someone loosens the mooring ropes to see how far it can go."

But the biggest concern of all is the duration of it this newly restored beauty, avoiding the damage that can be soon potentially caused by reckless young rascals ,or, as the same neighbour who commented earlier on the site’s nighttime splendour also reveals; the drunkards that frequent the bar sitting opposite it.

"I’m worried about it not lasting very long. No longer than a year ago they repaired the Alameda de Paula and some of the bars are no longer in place. Between young troublemakers and drunkards from the bar in front, one never knows where it all will end..."

For now and for many this will definitely soon become a meeting point, a gathering place where friends and family (weather permitting) will spend sitting on the floor, because as the author of the article in Diario de Cuba, was quick to remark, there are no benches to be found anywhere on the platform.


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