Cuba celebrates 500th anniversary of Havana

Cuba has continued celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the founding of its capital, Havana.

Foreign guests, including former French President Francois Hollande, joined President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday evening in Havana after a fireworks display over Havana port yesterday.

"Havana, a city of science, dance, cinema, literature and sporting events, is an example of neo-liberal resistance, and is also a city of dignity and a bastion of resistance against the unfair US embargo," Diaz-Canel was quoted as saying by the official daily Granma.

Havana was founded on November 16, 1519, by the Spanish conqueror, Diego Velazquez, on behalf of the King of Spain, and was the second city founded by the Spanish in the New World.

Pirate attacks during the first half of the 16th century led to the construction of military defenses around Havana, making it "the best defensive city in the New World," as the city's website describes.

Havana, with a population of 2.1 million, is the seat of the national legislature.

The old town of Havana, with its colonial buildings and modern art, was included as a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


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