Havana | The Malecón

At the beginning of the 20th century, the construction of the Malecón, initially designed as a sea boulevard, started. The pedestrian promenade stretches from the old center to the Miramar district, 7 km long. The robust quay wall also had to protect the walkers from the rolling waves coming from the Straits of Florida. The road next to it, called Malecón as well, is an important link between Old Havana and 'newer' neighborhoods to the west of it.

Busy, three-lane, but with a unique parade of special vehicles. Very popular with 'car-spotters'.

It is fantastic to stroll, but as a flood defense, the Malecón is not completely watertight, a 'nice weather plan', which provides insufficient protection in harsh conditions. Once, I was walking here with a Cuban friend, who suddenly run from the quay wall to the adjacent road, 10 seconds later, and soaking wet I realized why. Several times a year the salt water floods the broad boulevard, deviating the traffic. 

For the Habaneros, familiar with their sea, the Malecón is more than a seawall. With a calm surf, everything and everyone comes together here. It is the bench of the city, a lounge for the bon vivant, a sunbed for the sun worshiper, a picnic spot for family happiness, but also a free terrace with sea view for people with less budget. A hangout place for all generations. The quay wall and the promenade next to it have an important social function. There is room for gossip and reflections. Here, people often find more peace and privacy than at home or in the shimmering city. If you have problems, you go to the Malecón, if not, you go as well. Looking at the water, thoughts and dreams appear. Curiosity about what it would be like to live on the other side of the water (Florida is close by). But when you turn around, the city embraces you with its range of colors and gives you the satisfaction of being here at the Malecón, between the calm waves and the lively city.

Fishermen do not only come here to fish.

Young people come here to be young, flirt and stroll. Street vendors come here to sell. Mothers come here to not be a mother for a moment. Families come here to be a family. Artists, painters, musicians, and writers come here for inspiration and audience. An old man oversees the sea, smoking his cigar he sees that everything is alright.

It helps if you visit Havana, knowing a little about the puzzles and passion of the residents. The Malecón embodies all these emotions, reveals them and gives them a tropical decor.

When the sun sets orange-red colors over the sea, the Malecón is a spectacular light show. All buildings and houses, from mint green to sky blue, to fuchsia pink, just lit by the gleaming sun change color in the last light. At this hour of the day, the Malecón is the most beautiful.


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