Located at Obispo and Oficios streets.
The east end of Obispo opens onto Plaza de Armas, one of the oldest and most pleasant squares of Havana
. Since 1582, citizens have gathered here to share both political and personal news.
More recently, it supports a healthy second-hand book market; the vendors spend the day under the Plaza`s mature palms competing in rousing games of dominoes and chess.
Around the Plaza You`ll find a couple of restaurants at the end of Obispo serving regional fare: black beans and rice, fish, chicken, and plantains. These are state-run restaurants and the prices are higher than those at paladares private restaurants.
To the right of the Plaza is the ex U.S. embassy; its naked flagpoles extending from the building`s face. It is currently occupied by a small public library and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, which features several examples of Cuba`s indigenous flor
a and fauna.
At the center of the Plaza stands a dignified marble statue of Carlos Manuel Cespedes
, who set the Independence Wars in motion with an abolitionist uprising in 1868.
Buildings to the north of the Plaza include the ritzy and somewhat Impersonal Santa Isabel hotel and the first neo-classical structure in Havana
, Il Templete. The ancient Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle of the Royal Force occupies the northeast corner of the Plaza.