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UN RUGIDO… LOS LEONES DEL PRADO. CUBA El Paseo del Prado de La Habana es uno de los espacios urbanos más singulares y atractivos de la capital cubana. Su primer nombre fue el de Alameda de Extramuros o de Isabel II, por hallarse afuera de las grandes murallas que cercaban la ciudad. A Felipe de Fons de Viela, Marqués de la Torre, quien fue nombrado Capitán General de la Isla por el rey Carlos III, se le considera como el primer gran urbanista de la ciudad. El Marqués se empeñó en dotar a La Habana de un Teatro, la Casa de Gobierno y un Paseo. Ese paseo fue la Alameda de Paula, llamado así porque frente a uno de sus extremos se levantaba el Hospital de San Francisco de Paula. Su… More
THE LIONS OF THE PRADO. Cuba The Prado del Havana Paseo is one of the most unique and attractive urban spaces in the Cuban capital. His first name was Alameda de Extramuros or Elizabeth II, for being outside the large walls that encountered the city. Philip de Fons de Viela, Marquis de la Torre, who was named captain general of the island by King Charles III, is considered the city’s first great urban planner. The Marquis insisted on equipping Havana with a Theatre, the Government House and a Walk. That walk was Paula’s Alameda, named because in front of one of its ends the hospital of San Francisco de Paula was lifted. Construction began in 1772. But, the Marquis de la Torre didn’t just build the Alameda. Also in 1772 he started works on the Prado Paseo, improved and embellished in later times. Prado has had several names: Paseo del Prado, Alameda de Extramuros, Alameda de Isabel II, Nuevo Prado Walk, Conde de Casa Moré and Mart í Walk, which is his official name. It has usually been called simply, Paseo del Prado or Prado, this name that obeys the resemblance of the Habanero Paseo with the Madrid who runs between the source of Cybele and the railway station of Atocha, in the Spanish capital. By 1841, that Walk becomes the center of Havana. Plaza de Armas displaced Paula’s Alameda as a place of preference. And the Prado in turn displaced to Plaza de Armas, for its greater extent and breadth. The structure of the Prado has remained unchanged through the years. However, its central part was ground-not paved, although it did look leafy trees on its edges. During the last decades of the th and early th century, the pudding classes built their mansions on the Prado Walk. When they were abandoned to settle in the Vedado and the new casts of the west of the capital, there was an invasion of luxury shops dedicated primarily to tourism, followed by another of offices, hotels, and cafés. Today the Prado Walk remains a place of attraction not only for foreign visitors, but for Cubans from anywhere in the country. The Source of India or Noble Havana, is a representation where the image of the mythical Indian Havana, wife of the chief Habaguanex, regent of the area before the arrival of Columbus, from which it is believed to take the name of the capital from Cuba. It is located on the south end of the Paseo del Prado, about 100 meters from the Capitol. It was designed by architect Giuseppe Gaggini under the command of the Count of Villanueva Don Claudio Martinez de Pinillos. Built with white carrara marble, it is high at three feet. El Prado was the first asphalted street in Havana, a real event for the time, hence the car was incorporated on its rides. Building in 1929 the Capitol of Havana removed a section of the Walk and renovated the one that was maintained. Eight calm and beautiful lions, they are faithful guardians on the Havanero Prado Walk, while they are silent witnesses of what is happening around them. Havana was the most important port for Spain in the New World, so it was necessary to protect it from privateers and pirates. Then it was decided to fortify the bay and bought hundreds of cannons to protect and defend the city, in fortresses like Castle del Morro. During the neo-colonial era, in the middle of the th century, it was proven that the cannons were outdated, so its bronze is melted and used to create the sculptures of the lions. In 1928, the President of Cuba commissioned French sculptor Jean Puiforcat and also Cuban sculptor and bronze smelter Juan Comas to sculpt large-scale lions to be placed along the Walk. Two of them rise up majestic and firm at the north end of the road, down San Lazarus Street and in front of the Habanero Malecon, next to the statue of poet Juan Clemente Zenea. Certainly, in the period 1928-1929 the ultimate image of the iconic Walk that has come to the present is decided: stone banks were built with backing and marble base, ornamental elements were placed like cups and mensulas in profusion along the Walk, artistic iron streetlights and bronze lions were placed on their pedestals that guard it. The central walk is paving with a beautiful terrace floor. Building the Capitol includes the outer areas of the Capitol to Prado Walk, to India’s Source Deadline and to the Fraternity Park. Currently, the Prado Walk extends from the Source of India and the Fraternity Park to the Malecon, crossing the busiest areas of Old Havana and just one block from Industry Street, which marks the limit with Havana Center. ·

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