Topics: Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries

The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent , becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain. King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. [6] Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. [7] The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. [8]

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana , Vedado and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban government , and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices. [9] The current mayor is Marta Hernández of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). [10] In 2009, the city/province had the third highest income in the country. [11]

The city attracts over a million tourists annually; [12] the Official Census for Havana reports that in 2010 the city was visited by 1,176,627 international tourists, [12] a 20% increase from 2005. Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. [13] The city is also noted for its history , culture, architecture and monuments. [14] As typical of Cuba, Havana also features a tropical climate. [15]