Havana Arcades

A prominent feature along the main avenues and plazas of central Havana are the covered pedestrian arcades or portales which create a nearly continuous shaded pathway through parts of the old colonial city center.  The Spanish settlers who first established Havana in 1591 and ruled for over 300 years brought with them the Moorish and South Spanish formal traditions of elaborate louvered windows,open central courtyards and covered arcades . These architectural elements adapted well to the local climate conditions providing protection from the harsh tropical sun while creating a buffer zone between interior and exerior spaces. This traditional vocabulary has been adapted to fit the many architectural styles visible in Havana - baroque, neo classical, art deco, to modern - each successive style provided its own take on these established principals.

Ted Kane