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Visit Fidel Castro's Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, Cuba

Published by Nicole Bowers, Writer

Country: Cuba

The Experience

The first thing I noticed upon entering Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, was the sheer size of it. Standing inside one can easily imagine former President Fidel Castro addressing the masses and it is quite obvious that Revolution Square is indeed one of the biggest city squares in the world. Though the name “Revolution Square” is linked to Fidel Castro and his revolution, the square was actually constructed during the regime of prior President Fulgencio Batista. It was originally named “Civic Square” and renamed “Revolution Square” only after Fidel Castro took power.

One of the highest points of the city of Havana is in the square, the Jose Marti Memorial. The memorial is a 109m tall tower, where you can take an elevator to the top for a spectacular view of the city. In front of the tower is a huge sculptor of Marti himself, poet, writer and national hero in Cuba.

An iron sculpture of Che covers a whole side of the Ministry of the Interior. The words “Hasta la Victoria Siempre” (Towards Victory Forever) are ‘scrawled’ beside it. This kind of propaganda is found everywhere in Havana from the biggest billboards to the smallest of street graffiti. Some say that Che’s office is still completely intact and untouched inside the Ministry of the Interior building. Tours, however, are not offered.

Just recently another iron sculpture has been added in the Revolution Square. This time it is of Camilo Cienfuegos, Fidel Castro’s right-hand man and confident during the revolution. Beside his face, sculpted in his own handwriting, are the words “Vas bien Fidel” (You are doing well Fidel), which was what he said to Fidel Castro upon arriving by tank to Havana on January 8th 1959 after defeating Batista.

The most important events in Revolution Square are held on May 1st and July 26th. May 1st is International Workers' Day, or May Day, and is celebrated by eighty of the world's countries, including Cuba. For those with travel flexibility and a healthy tolerance for crowds, May 1st is the most experiential. You can expect tens of thousands to pack the square including visitors from far and wide. July 26th is an event in commemoration of the famous attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba by Fidel and his army.

When to Go to Plaza Revolución Havana

The best times of the year to visit Revolution Square for those keen on politics would be to witness or take part in one of the marches either on May 1st or on July 26th. Aside from these yearly events, you could try to catch a special occasion. In general, the high season is from December to March, when crowds of tourists invade from the North and head for the square.

Odds n' Ends

The summer months of July and August are very hot and there is no shade in Revolution Square, so remember your sunscreen! The square is heavily guarded and there are certain areas which are political or military bases, so be careful where you take pictures to avoid trouble.

During major events it will be difficult to taxi to and from the square. It would be advisable to stay overnight in a nearby hotel, or Casa Particular, so that you can walk.


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Language Guides

Spanish is one of the languages spoken in Cuba. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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