The Prado

The Prado is a raised, wide marble and granite promenade that splits the Paseo De Marti’s one-way traffic into two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes. The Prado is also the commonly accepted divider between “Old Havana” to the east and “Centro Havana” to the west, although the difference is not readily apparent. The Prado begins at Parque Central and ends at the Ave. De Maceo (the Malecon).

It’s approximate eight block length is a natural gathering place for all kinds of people. Children play with soccer balls, climb on the statues, and push home-made skateboards. Old people gather to sit and talk. Beggars gather to make conversation with tourists in hopes of being offered a CUC. On the weekends a wide variety of artists set up stands hoping to sell their sketches, paintings, carvings, jewelry, or beadwork. Of course there’s always a hip younger guy who wants to sell you some cigars … cheap! He’ll whisper to you … “my brother works in the cigar factory” … you want Cohibas? … Monte Cristos?”

The Prado is still in very good condition, but it’s dirty with soot from car and bus exhaust and when wet, it’s dangerously slippery. But that’s another story.

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One thought on “The Prado”

  1. Hi, and thanks for bringing my memory of walking The Prado. I remember walking The Prado during my visit to Cuba in 2012. It was full of people and artisans. I fell in love with how this open market allowed artists to share and sell their goods and talents. A great memory I will cherish forever and I purchased two works of art from that experience!

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