Our tour continued from San Francisco Square through the alleyway below to Plaza Vieja (Old Square).
Before reaching the square, we passed by Havana’s oldest aqueduct, constructed in the 16th century. It was built to supply water to the city residents and harbor.
We continued down the path to Plaza Vieja, which ironically is quite new due to a recent restoration bringing it back to its former glory. It was one of my favorite squares because of the vibrant colors and detailed stain glass, architecture and iron work.
The square was once home to some of the richest families in Havana. From their balconies they would watch various processions, bullfights and festivals held in the square, sometimes even executions.
It has gone through several name changes, in fact, it was once called Plaza Nueva (New Square), but was changed to Plaza del Mercado (Market Square) when it became a popular market. It was eventually renamed to Plaza Vieja (Old Square) when a new market square opened.
It now houses museums, art galleries, and several art installations.
While our guide mentioned there was some controversy surrounding the bronze rooster statue above, it’s still unclear the meaning behind it. (trust me, I’ve googled it and nothing…)
The restoration project began after Old Havana was declared a World Heritage Site in the 1980’s.
Follow me this way, to Plaza de Armas; we may even pass by a bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway.