The Obispo Street

Obispo Street
Obispo Street

The History of the Obispo Street

The Obispo Street is located in the same heart of Old Havana and it had its origin in the XVI century, in a near date to the foundation of San Cristobal’s Village. It was designed in a narrow way to protect from the sun the pedestrians. Obispo is crossed by the streets Baratillo, Oficios, Mercaderes, San Ignacio, Cuba, Aguiar, Habana, Compostela, Aguacate, Villegas and Bernaza. Along its history the Obispo street had several names, which were born of the popular culture. One of them was “San Juan”, because it drove to the church of San Juan of Letran of the Consulate. Another name was “Of the Obispo”, because in it the bishops (obispos) Brother Jeronimo of Lara and Pedro Agustin Morell of Santa Cruz lived in diverse times. In 1897 it was identified as “Weyler”, but the following year the Havanan town destroyed the signs that reflected that name. In 1905 it received the name of “Pi Margall”, in homage to the defender of the rights and freedoms of Cuba in Spain. This way it obtained diverse names, but in 1936 when the streets had its original names it was called Obispo again.

The Obispo Street and its Particularities

The Obispo Street is one of the trafficked walks in the capital of Cuba. For its strategic location this artery belongs to the Historical Center and its main characteristic is the one of possessing a great number of shops that are located in all its extension, from the Bernaza to the Square of Weapons. This road is closed to the traffic of vehicles, it is narrow and it doesn’t have portals. In its first times it was a corridor of goods that arrived from the area of outside through the door of Monserrate. It was the first street in being asphalted in the whole city and at the present time it is constituted in a converged boulevard. On the Obispo artery there are stores of different types, state trade, art galleries, hotels, restaurants and private business for the sale of foods and crafts. In one of its blocks it was located from 1728 up to 1902 the Real and Papal University of San Geronimo of the Havana. Until the demolition of the walls on August 8th 1863 it existed an entrance door to the city. It also had the privilege of being among the best paved streets in the city and it turned out to be pioneer of the public illumination. The night walks toward the Square of Weapons where concerts were offered, increased the public that took tours on foot, and in horse carriages.

Main Institutions and Illustrious Neighbors of the Obispo Street

On the urban layout of the street Bishop monumental public buildings that substantially transformed the history of the Havanan architecture rose. The most outstanding constructions are the Ministry of Finances and Prices, the Real and Papal University of San Geronimo of Havana, the Numismatic Museum, and the House of the Hefty Mayorazgo, the House of the General Captain Laureano De Torres-Ayala, the National Museum of Natural History and the Modern Poetry. Among its more illustrious neighbors we can find the philosopher and Presbyter Felix Varela, who lived between the streets Aguacate and Villegas in the house marked with the number 91, current 462. There the communist leader Julio Antonio Mella was born and also lived part of his childhood, exactly on the corner of the Havana Street in a house marked with the nr. 67, which shows today the numbers 311 and 313. Another of the big personalities linked to this artery is Ernest Hemingway that during the 30´s decade lived in the Ambos Mundos (Both Worlds) Hotel.

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