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Plaza Armas is a significant landmark in Havana, Cuba’s history. It is located within Havana Vieja which is considered to be the oldest and most exquisite part of the city.
The plaza is contained with central colonial buildings for it served as the seat of government in Cuba’s capital city during the sixteenth century. It is also the location where the village of San Cristobal de La Habana was first expanded.
The layouts of the plaza was designed by Antonio Fernandez de Trebejos, a local citizen of Havana. Referring to his designs, the plaza was decorated with fountains, street lamps, benches and beautiful gardens. Because of its nice landscapes, aristocrats loved to swing by here. Through time, this was the destination spot where the distinguished people would strut out their beach clothes and mingle with each other.
Today, the plaza’s premises have been used commercially where stalls and mini-stores would sell various items. However, the plaza still has its exquisite beauty and is still the place where people would love to socialize with each other. The vicinity is visited by both locals and tourists who would hang-out and listen to the music played from all parts of the plaza.
The most significant of the buildings erected in the square is the Palace of the Captain Generals built during the late eighteenth century. It has been recognized as the finest and most intricate architectural items constructed during the Spanish rule in Cuba. The Palace has been used for different functions throughout the years. It has been utilized as a prison, a City Hall but then eventually emerged as the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum) to present.
The museum, composed of a Historian Office, is packed with authentic historical pieces such as the first Cuban flag and other objects that were previously owned by recognized Cuban heroes and patriots namely Maximo Gomez and Jose Marti.
The plaza is composed of four streets interconnecting at all sides, three of which are constructed with bricks while the remaining street is made with wood. The wooden wood is now occupied by the largest second hand book market in the area and is also recognized as Havana’s landmark. The market is open to travelers six days a week and sells book collections that tell the different Cuban life and historical stories.
When these book vendors have found their respective spots and are ready to showcase books that they sell, it would be the time that the plaza would then be as lively as ever as people would come rushing in to purchase some reads.
Books from Hemingway to Cuban classic literature are sold here. You can take your pick as it is not just limited to one area of subject but likewise caters to all type of reading materials.
Apart from books, the vendors would also sell souvenir items in the form of old collectibles such as beer labels and stamps. You will also get to search for historical books talking about the anti-US sentiment and revolution that took place in Cuba. The fun part is, the vendors are quite friendly and would be willing to share their insights and knowledge about the type of books that they are willing to sell to you.