In the heart of Havana
- Submitted by: manso
- Travel and Tourism
- 06 / 16 / 2011
2011.06.16 - 09:04:13 / radiorebelde.icrt.cu / The American Fraternity Park or simply the Fraternity Park is a customary meeting ground and reference for visitors and residents in the capital of all Cubans.
Its boundaries are Monte, Dragones, Prado and Amistad streets and it is an ideal place for lovers´ dates. People converge there to debate the current national and foreign situation, to get on a bus that gets them to any municipality of Havana or to begin the incredible adventure of traveling in time on the antique cars whose destination or departure point is there.
The history of this downtown park dates back to 1790, when the General Captain of the Island ordered to turn its current area into the Field of Mars. The field was meant to be the scenario of military drills and parades. The 1793 expansion of the park was designed by Belgian engineer Agustin Cramer and it was again remodeled late in the decade of 1830. The perimeter was then demarcated with an iron grill.
The place has ever since witnessed different events that ranged from the celebration of May Day to lodging US occupation troops. Walkways, gardens and fountains were built later on, starting in 1902. However, most were destroyed by the fury of a powerful hurricane that ravaged the Island in 1926.
After that, the Park revival became part of the City Master Plan, implemented during Gerardo Machado's government. It was decided to build a leisure place in the area. French architect and landscape painter Jean Claude Nicolas Forrestier was hired for this task. He designed several plots of land of different sizes, keeping in mind the layout of the streets and sidewalks that surrounded them.
The VI Pan-American Conference took place in Havana in February 1928. It was hence decided to name the renovated park as Square of the American Fraternity.
The ceiba tree planted on 1902 in Cerro neighborhood, as symbol of the birth of the Republic, was moved to its premises. The ever-since called “Tree of American Fraternity" was planted in the largest plot of land on February 24 1928. It was fertilized with earth from each of the nations that attended that conference.
Busts of national independence heroes of the region have been planted in this site dedicated to fraternity among America peoples.
The Park of American Fraternity encompasses today a group of small and large parks that enjoy the benefits of the renovation
undertaken by the City Historian´s Office. Its premises are reference and walkways to reach the Capitol Building, Central Park, the Prado Avenue or China Town. It certainly has an important space in the heart of Havana.
By: Elsa Maria Cortes, translation Pedro A. Fanego Sea