As the capital of Cuba, Havana is a remarkably vast, sprawling metropolis. The city’s compelling history is reflected in the astonishing diversity of its architecture, its multicultural inhabitants, and its exotic and eclectic cuisine. The Old Town remains a remarkably well-preserved colonial centre. It is characterised by an exquisite hotchpotch of architectural styles, of opulence and decay, socialism and capitalism, the past and the present. Imperial mansions have been converted into modern tenement buildings, government agencies find homes in eighteenth-century convents and the nostalgic classic American cars for which the city is known share Havana’s lively streets with the latest models of BMW and Mercedes. While the UNESCO-funded restoration programme has introduced a modicum of modernity into the city, Havana has managed to retain its wonderfully quirky cultural heritage, its unique character, and its undeniable charm.

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