Barrio Chino

CA4
Neighborhood
CA Ranking: 4
Centered around Zanja and Dragones
  • Located just a few meters away from El Capitolio, this is the largest and most important Chinatown in the New Continent. According to historian Julio Le Riverend, between 1847 and 1874, around 150,000 Chinese people arrived in Havana, most of them men, and by the early 20th century, there were already approximately 10,000 of them (almost a small town).

    In line with the growth of Cuba’s capital city and with a strategic location for business, Havana’s Chinatown became the venue of variousthriving business establishments, including shops, bodegas with exotic items, shoe shops, fruit stands, small restaurants, laundries, etc. There were also a large number of self-proclaimed leisure and educational clubs, being the Kuomintang and the Chi Kong Tong the most popular ones.

    In the beginning, the Chinese immigrants stayed true to their customs, marrying only to members of their community, but as many started to immigrate to other countries, the ones that did stay began to marry Cubans and Caucasians, and their race has now become a mix of races. Today, most Chinese-Cuban are a mix of their Chinese ancestors with Spanish and African descendants.

    What’s truly peculiar about this neighborhood are the so-called Sociedades Chinas de Instrucción y Recreo, small casino-bar-restaurant establishments. Among them, Sociedad China La Unión de la Familia (Family Union Chinese Society), Lung-Kwn-Sol Chinese Society, Sue-Yuen-Tong (a small restaurant) and Chi-Tack Tong (another small restaurant).

    There are a few other must-see things in this neighborhood, such as the Kwong-Wah-Po (People’s Chinese Newspaper), which is still being published; a Chinese movie theater, where original versions of movies are featured; and an odd Chinese homeopathic pharmacy.

    
  • Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro

    Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro  LH 5+

    Designed by Italian engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli and built by slaves with rocks extracted from the moats in the last decades of the 16th century, the Morro Castle to defend the town of San Cristob …

    Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña

    Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña  LH 5+

    Constructed after the capture of Havana by British forces and named San Carlos de la Cabaña in honor of King Carlos III, this 700-meter long fortress is the largest in the Americas. It was designed by …

    El Chanchullero

    El Chanchullero  LH 5+

    El Chanchullero has got to win the most surprisingly good place in Havana award. This looks like a hole in the wall place in a downright run down looking part of Old Havana. It is a hassle to get to b …

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional  LH 5

    The International collection (Edificio de Arte Internacional) In 2001, after the new venues were chosen for the National Museum of Fine Arts, the international collection was installed in the former C …

    Tren de Hershey

    Tren de Hershey  LH 5+

    In 1926, Pennsylvania based Hershey Corporation built a 135-km-long electric railroad network in Cuba to transport product and personnel from Havana to Hershey’s sugar factory 45 km east of the capita …

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)  LH 5+

    Along the banks of the Almendares River is Parque Almendares, also known as Bpsque de La Haband (Havana’s Forest). This is the only urban forest in the city and is a recreational area for Habaneros th …

    Plaza de Armas

    Plaza de Armas  LH 5+

    The early city was formally founded in 1519 on the northeast side of what would soon be laid out as Plaza de la Iglesia—named for the simple church that stood here until 1741, when it was destroyed fo …

    Plaza de San Francisco

    Plaza de San Francisco  LH 5+

    Right across Havana harbor, Plaza de San Francisco is one of the first three built in the 16th century. It takes its name from the Franciscan convent built there. The plaza became the site of a market …

    Plaza de la Catedral

    Plaza de la Catedral  LH 5+

    The last of the main squares to be created, this is one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots. Originally, it was named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain, but by the 18th …

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba  LH 5+

    In response to the increasing influx of American tourists in the late 20s (mainly those who were escaping Prohibition, in force in the United States at the time), the construction of a luxury hotel wa …

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