Lying to the west of Havana’s historic city center and within the municipality of Playa, Miramar has traditionally been an upscale area offering a sign of great architecture and modern art.
Miami-style Art Deco houses and mansions line Quinta Avenida, the main street in Miramar. Sightseers can cruise the wide tree-lined avenues and admire the general ambiance of grandeur. Many stately homes have become embassies and government offices after the original owners fled during the Revolution. Former President of Cuba and revolutionary hero Fidel Castro is based in this modern area in the city of Havana.
A great start in Playa Miramar could be by visiting Fusterlandia within the former fishing town of Jaimanitas in the outskirts of Havana. Fusterlandia is a complex of three-dimensional neighborhood art and a rhapsody of color and creativity. Local artist, José Fuster created this kaleidoscopic display of paintings, sculptures and mosaics throughout the neighborhood to represent his life and art. Described as the “Gaudí of the Caribbean”, Fuster even decorated neighbors’ homes and bus shelters. Stroll through the streets to see the vibrant creations popping out of houses and public areas, then visit Fuster’s home studio.
Other highlights in the area include Iglesia de Santa Rita and the Russian embassy. The first is a modernist church from 1942 which mixes neocolonial and modern features by architect Victor Morales. The second is a striking constructivist building on Quinta Avenida. Some liken it to a sword, others to a syringe.
During a journey in Miramar, one can take a break at the hipster-style Café Fortuna, a must-go for all bohemian souls. In the evenings, Casa de la Música hosts all the well-known bands plus less-famous groups playing salsa. It is housed in a beautiful old Havana mansion and offers a great atmosphere to listen to the cream of Havana musical talent. You won’t be disappointed!