Back in the 1950s before the Cuban Revolution and Castro’s transformation to an authoritative Communist state, Cuba was at her glory. The 50s were filled with money, mafia and decadence as some of the world’s wealthiest Americans came to Havana’s playground to enjoy her nightlife, music, gambling, prostitution and rum. During this time period, Havana’s architecture was also at her best with magnificent colonial mansions, casinos and clubs for the wealthy few Cubans who amassed their riches over the years in the sugar and tobacco trade.
All of Cuba’s glory and decadence came to an end after the Cuban Revolution. The casinos and clubs were closed down for good, fully furnished beautiful mansions and villas were left as the elite Cubans were forced into exile, and any kind of new building in Cuba pretty much stopped except for ugly, Soviet-looking apartment buildings and equally unattractive new tourist hotels.
Slowly over time, the beauty and grandeur of Cuba faded away as Havana’s historic buildings began to decay and deteriorate due to lack of maintenance, lack of funds, an aggressive climate and non-existent governmental programs to preserve Cuba’s architectural heritage.
It is often said that Cuba is so amazing because she is frozen in time- to before the Cuban Revolution over 50 years ago. Yet architecturally she is not in good condition and much of Cuba’s architectural treasure is threatened.
Walking down the street in Old Havana it is not uncommon to see streets like this one.