After a recent trip to Cuba, I discovered that Cuban life is all a matter of perspective. As I mentioned in my last post “A Taste of Cuba“, the country is perhaps one of the most fascinating places I’ve been given its eclectic mix of history, culture and politics. What makes Cuba so incredibly interesting is that almost everything has been magically frozen in time since the Cuban Revolution over half a century ago.
One of the most prevalent examples of this reality can be seen in Cuba’s architecture. Once gorgeous buildings and mansions of a rather decadent era are today in various states of decay as time leaves her mark. Some have been beautifully restored to their previous grandeur while others are slowly but surely being regentrified. For me, it is all a matter of perspective as to whether there still remains beauty in the peeling paint, the crumbling facades and the deteriorating walls of Cuba’s phenomenal past.
Here is an old Spanish Colonial mansion found in Old Havana and typical of the 18th century, in the process of restoration. Let’s take a look and judge for yourself.
All Spanish Colonial mansions were built around the courtyard which had two key functions. First, it brought in sunlight to the home and second it offered fresh air to circulate throughout the house. Back in the early days, the first floor was where business was conducted and the second floor was where the family lived.
One of the key architectural jewels of the Spanish Colonial mansions was the majestically carved wooded ceilings as seen in the photo below.
As more money becomes available to the lackluster Cuban economy and more Cubans earn the means to restore their homes, there is hope that the sensational architecture and grandeur of Havana’s past can return. But it will take a lot of time, money and effort to restore her beauty back to the high times of the 1950s when Havana was perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the Southern Hemisphere.
If I close my eyes, I can only imagine what it must have looked like back then. Purely sensational.
This post was written in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective. To view more entries click here. More to come on Cuba. Stay tuned….