"The restoration is important because it's our heritage. Our heritage is not only ours, but of the entire world."

- Lic. Marianela Lopez Bello, BIOLOGIST OF OLD HAVANA

-- Restoration --

"Everything is culture, our buildings, our art...as we grow we are taught to be proud of our culture."


-- About

-- About --

Beginning of the Restoration

Image Source: UNESCO
Cuba experienced a great economic boom during the early 20th Century, causing massive building and expansion in Old Havana. After losing a major source of trade in the U.S. embargo and then its primary funding with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country faced a virtual bankruptcy. In a normal developing economy, Old Havana’s buildings would have been demolished but this turmoil spared many of them. Eusebio Leal began the restoration and preservation movement in 1967, spurring the development of an industry of physical, cultural and environmental restoration in Old Havana. More than 350 buildings were restored between 1981-2004 and in 1982, Old Havana was named a UNESCO world heritage site.

Current Restoration

In 2012, it was reported that the Office of the Historian had restored and now operates 16 hotels, a tour company, restaurants, museums, a radio station and more totaling to revenues of $119 million. There are now many hotels and businesses in Old Havana whose revenues are invested back into the restoration processes. However, there is still contention between restoration sites for funding, with some sites deemed more important to receive renovation than others. These sites currently include: the Havana Capitol building, the Havana Jetty (the Malecón), the fifth garden of the Mills, and the Palace Segundo Cabo.

Future Restoration

Due to the fact that these projects are restorative in nature, there will always be more restoration to be done. UNESCO originally designated 444 sites in Old Havana for preservation and a little more than half have been completed. Buildings will continue to decay and require restoration. With tourism still driving Cuba’s economy, and Old Havana being critically important in this plan, it is unlikely that the restoration initiatives will be completed any time in the near future.

The Restoration Mission

The management of heritage recovery is far from the traditional view focused exclusively on the restoration of buildings and public spaces, addressing issues related to society, housing, education and health, or humanitarian affairs. It is a program that develops in a place of great heritage value, with culture as central to performance, but focused primarily on the inhabitants of the territory.

-- Map

-- Map --

Explore the interactive map below to read more about the places that have been restored, are currently under restoration or help aid in the progress of this initiative.

Convent of our Lady of Belen

Model of Old Havana

Restoration Site

Office of Environment, Patrimony and Community

The Trade School

The Capitol

Christopher Columbus Cemetery


"Culture is an identity and as a form of expression is always taken with you. The projects developed here are meant to develop that culture."


-- Infographics

-- Infographics --

Watch to see more about what Havana locals had to say about the restoration.

Watch to see more about what Havana locals had to say about the restoration.