Didem Doğan

Plaza de las Armas and Palacio de las Capitanes Generales

This is the oldest square of Havana, dating back to the construction of the city in 1520. There used to be a church in this area which is today occupied by Palacio de las Capitanes Generales. The square has a lot of bookstores. Postcards of Che and Castro one can come across everywhere; in the centre of the square, a marble statue of Céspedes, the figure who started the independence movement. The square offers a view of the shore down the road; you can also take a side alley that leads to Plaza Vieja. I am staying inside the palace for a while. A peacock walking elegantly around in the garden. I am touring all the rooms with old furniture on the second floor. If you enter the square of Plaza de las Armas not through its seaside, but through the upper gate, you will come across this place facing the whole square: The Palace of Generals display the colonial architectural style, and both the Spanish style and the Moroccan period style with its courtyard full of palm trees and a statue of Columbus in the centre, its arched columns, and marble floor tiles. The palace which served as the residence of the viceroys coming from Spain during the colonial period, of the invading rulers during the American intervention, and of the President during the republican period, is today a city museum. Inside it you may admire the furniture dating back to the foundation period. It has the feel of an abandoned house rather than a museum.