Cuba in a nutshell

The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago consisting of the island of Cuba, the Isle of Youth and around 1600 islets. Its total area is 110,922 square kilometers and it has a population of nearly 11 million. The long, narrow island of Cuba resembles a large crocodile. It is 1250 kilometers long and has 289 natural beaches along its coastline. Cuba’s climate is subtropical. Average annual temperature is 25º C (77º F). The average highs and lows are 35º and 19ºC (95º and 66º F). Politically and administratively, Cuba is divided into 14 provinces and a special municipality. Havana, the capital, has a population of nearly 2 million. Cuban fauna includes over 8,000 species and fauna is abundant and no species are harmful to man.

Sugar and its by-products are the main economic commodities. Other important economic branches are: tourism, fishing, tobacco -famous all over the world-, citrus fruits and coffee.

The national culture has well-defined features resulting from the fusion of several cultures, mainly Spanish and African. Among Cuba’s main tourist attractions are Varadero beach, stretching over 20 kilometers of fine white sand, transparent sea and palm trees; Guam/a {?}, a recreated Taino Indian village built on piles in a lagoon; the Isle of Youth with its many natural caves, long ago shelter of pirates and corsairs, which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island; Cayo Largo, a paradise where nature is your only host; and the Viñales Valley, with its typical pincushion hills and marvelous tobacco fields, the best in the world. Cuba’s best attractions, however, are its people and the rhythms of their music.

Havana

Havana was founded by the Spaniards on the southern coast of Cuba and was later transferred to its current location. Its territorial and urban development started during the second half of the 17th century, but it was not until the 19th century that the city attained its splendor.

For over two centuries Havana’s harbor was the most important in the western hemisphere. It was the meeting place of the fleets on their voyage back to Spain. It was one of the largest shipyards in the world.

Impressive fortresses were erected: "El Castillo de la Fuerza" (1538), the oldest in Cuba and the second oldest in America; "El Castillo del Morro", guarding the harbor; "La Fortaleza de la Cabaña", completed in the 18th century, where a cannon is still fired at nine o’clock every night, a tradition which dates back to colonial times when it signaled the hour when all the doors in the city wall were closed (the city was enclosed by a wall which served as limit and protection). Some sections of this wall have been preserved.

Old Havana, still with remnants of its original grandeur, is the best preserved colonial architecture complex in America. That’s why, on December 4, 1982, UNESCO declared Old Havana a World Patrimony.

The prodigious architecture of Colonial Havana is here for all visitors to see. An example of it is the San Francisco Square, the second oldest in Cuba, located near the port, a major commercial center of the old city.

The most beautiful places in Old Havana are the Cathedral Square; the streets of San Ignacio, Empedrado, Callejón del Chorro, with their cobblestones; the palaces of the Marquis of Arcos, the Counts of Casa Bayona, and the Marquis of Aguas Claras, now housing El Patio restaurant.

Some religious buildings are of particular beauty: the church of El Angel, the church and convent of Santa Clara, and the church "La Merced", with an unpretentious façade contrasting with its gold encrusted altar.

"El Templete" was erected at the foot of a ceiba tree, where the first town hall meeting was held and the first mass celebrated.

Havana offers tourists numerous hotels, restaurants and night clubs which will surely make for a pleasant stay. Among the most outstanding hotels are the Melia Cohiba Hotel, the Inglaterra Hotel, decorated in 19th century style, the Presidente Hotel, with an atmosphere of old luxury, the Havana Riviera, the Habana Libre, the Nacional and the Capri hotels, with comfortable rooms overlooking the city and the sea.

The world famous and refreshing drink "mojito" and our most typical Cuban dishes are to be found at "La Bodeguita del Medio". "El Floridita" offers international cuisine and a special daiquiri; "La Torre de Marfil" and "El Mandarín" specialized in Chinese food, while "La Casa de los Vinos" and "El Baturro" have on their menus a wide variety of Spanish fare. El Emperador, La Torre and 1830 restaurants are special treats for gourmets.

World famous for its wonderful shows and tropical setting, Tropicana presents visitors with two options: "Bajo las Estrellas", show under the stars, surrounded by exuberant vegetation, and the dazzling "Arcos de Cristal".

Havana, a city with a particular beauty and a charm of its own, awaits your visit, certain of meeting all your expectations.

Venue

The Havana International Conference Center, located in an alluring site surrounded by beautiful gardens, is only a few minutes away from downtown Havana and its major hotels.

The center has a plenary hall seating 1475, two rooms for 400 persons each, a number of other well-equipped conference rooms and wide exhibit areas. The center provides conference services (typing pool, translation, interpretation, photocopying, design and printing), catering services (restaurant, self-service cafeteria and snack bars), medical, postal and communications facilities. It also has a store and a book shop. Havana International Conference Center also boasts of an excellent exhibition hall –PABEXPO– 1,000 m away from its central facilities.

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