UIG537368 Billboard In Cardenas, Cuba, Showing Che Guevara; Omniphoto/UIG;  out of copyright

What Everybody Ought to Know About Havana

Arriving in Havana is like entering a portal to a different time. The soaring summer heat and humid air make it hard to breathe at first. There’s noise everywhere and the colours of the city are so intense they almost hurt your eyes.

HWB614031 Boy carrying stool, Havana, Cuba (photo) by .; (add.info.: Boy carrying stool, Havana, Cuba); Photo © Holly Georgia Webster; out of copyright
HWB614031 Boy carrying stool, Havana, Cuba (photo) by .; (add.info.: Boy carrying stool, Havana, Cuba); Photo © Holly Georgia Webster; out of copyright

Havana is a place like no other: a city caught between colonial architecture and decay, Spanish rhythms and the ever-present communism. The classic American cars that drive up and down the streets make you feel like you took a trip in Doc Brown’s DeLorean and got transported to the 1950s! All you need now is for Michael J. Fox to appear…

UIG537034 1958 Classic Chevy On Cobblestone Street In Center Square Of Trinidad, Cuba.; Omniphoto/UIG; out of copyright; Washing on a Balcony, Paseo Prado, by Leon Morrocco / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
UIG537034 1958 Classic Chevy On Cobblestone Street In Center Square Of Trinidad, Cuba.; Omniphoto/UIG; out of copyright; Washing on a Balcony, Paseo Prado, by Leon Morrocco / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images

Cuba is famous for its rum. Therefore it is apt that American writer Ernest Hemingway, nicknamed “Papa”, found a home in Cuba for about 20 years. The island inspired him to write one of his most popular works: The Old Man and the Sea.

Hemingway’s passion for alcohol was no secret and today there are numerous bars in Havana claiming to be his regular watering hole.

LAL278603 The Old Man and the Sea (gouache on paper) by Seabright, Harry G. (Henry) (20th century); Private Collection; © Look and Learn; British, out of copyright; Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) in Plaza del Castillo during the Fiestas of San Fermin, Pamplona, July 1959 (b/w photo), Spanish Photographer, (20th century) / Private Collection
LAL278603 The Old Man and the Sea (gouache on paper) by Seabright, Harry G. (Henry) (20th century); Private Collection; © Look and Learn; British, out of copyright; Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) in Plaza del Castillo during the Fiestas of San Fermin, Pamplona, July 1959 (b/w photo), Spanish Photographer, (20th century) / Private Collection

But it’s not only Ernest Hemingway’s ghost that lingers with you on a trip to Cuba. Memorabilia of Che Guevara and the Cuban revolution are on display at almost every corner in the old town. And with Fidel Castro‘s birthday approaching on August 13th, news channels in Cuba are constantly reporting about their most famous politician and revolutionary.

UIG529141 Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is a communist Cuba n politician; Universal History Archive/UIG; out of copyright; Che Guevara in Zanzibar to support their revolution, 1964 (b/w photo), Oswald Jones (1929-98) / Private Collection / © Estate of Oswald Jones
UIG529141 Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is a communist Cuba n politician; Universal History Archive/UIG; out of copyright; Che Guevara in Zanzibar to support their revolution, 1964 (b/w photo), Oswald Jones (1929-98) / Private Collection / © Estate of Oswald Jones

The thriving music and art scene in Havana is an inspiration to painters and photographers alike. Bridgeman Studio artists Jenny Wheatley and David Studwell capture the essence of Havana in their works.

ABE1073971 Glorious Havana by Wheatley, Jenny; Private Collection; in copyright PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library represents the copyright holder of this image and can arrange clearance; Yellow Car and Street Sign, Studwell, David / Private Collection
ABE1073971 Glorious Havana by Wheatley, Jenny; Private Collection; in copyright
PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library represents the copyright holder of these images and can arrange clearance; Yellow Car and Street Sign, David Studwell / Private Collection

Cuba is the world’s biggest cigar producer. Hand-rolled cigars are the sign of luxury for tourists – most like to buy some for their loved ones at home – but many of the local population also like to indulge, albeit with cheaper varieties.

UIG841816 Cuba, tobacco drying in hut on tobacco farm by .; Dorling Kindersley/UIG; out of copyright; An elderly woman. Cuba, Havana. November 26, 2007. Officially known as Ciudad de La Habana, it is the capital city, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city is one of the 14 Cuban provinces. There are about 2.4 million inhabitants, known as Habaneros and among them nearly 400,000 live in the urban area making Havana the largest city in both Cuba and the Caribbean region. (photo) / Majority World/UIG
UIG841816 Cuba, tobacco drying in hut on tobacco farm by .; Dorling Kindersley/UIG; out of copyright; An elderly woman. Cuba, Havana. November 26, 2007. Officially known as Ciudad de La Habana, it is the capital city, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city is one of the 14 Cuban provinces. There are about 2.4 million inhabitants, known as Habaneros and among them nearly 400,000 live in the urban area making Havana the largest city in both Cuba and the Caribbean region. (photo) / Majority World/UIG

Havana is all about the simple things being special. Even going out for a cup of coffee is an experience that greatly differs to picking up a quick coffee before work. People take their time. Even though most of them seem to live a life absent of luxury, they enjoy themselves to the fullest. Music is a constant companion – impromptu dances included. Olé!

AAI1065837 Black and white car by David Studwell; 29x20 cm; Private Collection; in copyright PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library represents the copyright holder of this image and can arrange clearance.
AAI1065837 Black and white car by David Studwell; 29×20 cm; Private Collection; in copyright
PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library represents the copyright holder of this image and can arrange clearance.

Find out more

See more images and footage in the Bridgman archive, including pictures of famous personalities and Cuban revolution footage.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara in mountain camp, farmers march for the Revolution, Cubans accused of treason are arrested. Cuba c.1959; Fidel Castro enters Havana riding on hood of jeep - Cuban Revolution 1959
Ernesto “Che” Guevara in mountain camp, farmers march for the Revolution, Cubans accused of treason are arrested. Cuba c.1959; Fidel Castro enters Havana riding on hood of jeep – Cuban Revolution 1959

All images in this article are sourced from www.bridgemanimages.com. Contact the Bridgeman sales team (uksales@bridgemanimages.com) for more information regarding licensing, reproduction and copyright issues.

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