Parque de los Enamorados

Park in Centro Habana

In Parque de los Enamorados (Lovers' Park), surrounded by streams of speeding traffic, lies a surviving section of the colonial Cárcel (aka Tacón Prison), built in 1838, where many Cuban patriots, including José Martí, were imprisoned. A brutal place that sent prisoners to perform hard labor in the nearby San Lázaro quarry, it was demolished in 1939, with this park dedicated to the memory of those who had suffered so horribly within its walls. Two tiny cells and a chapel are all that remain.

Behind the park, the beautiful wedding-cake-like building (art nouveau with a dash of eclecticism) flying the Spanish flag is the old Palacio Velasco, now the Spanish embassy.

Beyond that, on a traffic island, is the Memorial a los Estudiantes de Medicina, a fragment of wall encased in marble marking the spot where eight Cuban medical students were shot by the Spanish in 1871 in reprisal for allegedly desecrating the tomb of a Spanish journalist.