Havana

This article is about the capital of Cuba. For other uses, see Havana (disambiguation).
"Habana" redirects here. For the locality in Australia, see Habana, Queensland.
Havana
Capital of Cuba
La Habana
Clockwise from top left: El Capitolio, Museum of the Revolution, view of Malecón, lighthouse at El Morro, Havana Cathedral, Plaza Vieja and the Great Theatre of Havana
Flag of Havana
Flag
Coat of arms of Havana
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): City of Columns, Rome of the Caribbean [1]
Havana is located in Cuba
Havana
Havana
Location in Cuba
Coordinates: 23°08′N 82°23′W / 23.133°N 82.383°W / 23°08′N 82°23′W / 23.133; -82.383
Country   Cuba
Province La Habana
Founded 1515a
City status 1592
Municipalities 15
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
 •  Mayor Marta Hernández ( PCC)
Area
 •  Capital of Cuba 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi)
 • Land 2,555.055 km2 (986.512 sq mi)
 • Water 9,830.521 km2 (3,795.585 sq mi)  19.23%
 • Urban 987.2546 km2 (381.1811 sq mi)
 • Metro 852.12 km2 (329.01 sq mi)
Elevation 59 m (194 ft)
Population (2012) Official Census [2]
 •  Capital of Cuba Decrease 2,106,146
 • Density 2,892.0/km2 (7,490/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Habanero/a
Time zone UTC−05:00 ( UTC-5)
 • Summer ( DST) UTC−04:00 ( UTC-4)
Postal code 10xxx–19xxx
Area code(s) (+53) 07
Patron Saints Saint Christopher
a Founded on the present site in 1519.

Havana ( /həˈvænə/; Spanish: La Habana, [la aˈβana]) is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. [3] The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, [2] [3] and it spans a total of 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi) – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, and the third largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region. [2] [4] The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay. [5]

The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent becoming a stopping point for the treasure-laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. [6] Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. [7] The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. [8]

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices. [9] The current mayor is Marta Hernández from the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). [10] In 2009, the city/province had the 3rd highest income in the country. [11]

The city attracts over a million tourists annually; [12] the Official Census for Havana reports that in 2010 the city was visited by 1,176,627 international tourists, [12] a 20.0% increase from 2005. The historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. [13] The city is also noted for its history, culture, architecture and monuments. [14] As typical of Cuba, Havana also features a tropical climate. [15]

In May 2015, Havana was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Durban, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur. [16]

Etymology

Most native settlements became the site of Spanish colonial cities retaining their original Taíno names; the name Habana could be based on the name of a local Taíno chief Habaguanex.[ citation needed]

An alternate theory is that Habana is derived from the Middle Dutch word havene, referring to a harbour, etymologically related to the English word haven.[ citation needed]

A panoramic view of Havana, Cuba from atop the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña.