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  • Colonial Fortress: Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña

    Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña

    • Destination: Havana
    • Open: 3,4,5,6,7
    • Address: Carretera de La Cabana, Eastern Havana, Havana City. Cuba
    • Telephone:
  • Description

    Restablished the Hispanic dominance in Havana, one of the first dispositions of the king Carlos III, with regard to the protection of the city, was the construction of a colossal fortification, the largest erected until then, in America, on “La Cabaña’s” hill. The project, undertaken by Silvestre Abarca, with plans by two French engineers, was finished in eleven years, between 1763-1774. Simultaneously, " El Príncipe” and “ Atarés” Castles.

    La Cabaña, with its 750 meters long and ten hectares of surface, was considered as the summit of the fortification system of the Spanish military constructions and its eclectic style is given by the influence that received from the best of the military engineering of the time, when taking from France the curves flanks, the lobes of the bastions, and the external works, from Italy the ramparts and from Holland the hydraulic works. The combination of all these elements guaranteed its functionality, modernity and dynamics, when being adapted to the land, in function of the defensive necessities of preserving the city before a terrestrial attack from the east.

    The crown-shaped polygon that conforms this fortress, is surrounded by a deep dry moat by it’s eat side and high wall panels facing the channel. It has a complex defensive structure where are integrated, with robustness and harmony, ramparts, tenails, caponiers, flanked ravelins, bunkers and barracks, with interior street that give access to the beautiful arms’ square, focal point of this military colonial enclave.

    Cabaña fortressLa Cabaña‘s garrison had, toward 1859, around 1300 men that could be increased to 6000 in the event of war. It also had 120 brass cannons and howitzers of diverse calibres. For the capacity of storage of reservoirs and victuals, it could resist more than a year of blockade, without receiving supplies from the exterior.

    In spite of its extraordinary warlike gifts, the “San Carlos de la Cabaña” fortress, never saw action. It is affirmed that its single presence, was enough to discourage the intents of assaulting Havana again.

    It is told that the famous Antonelli said of La Cabaña hills that the one in control of them would own Havana. Those hills were the property of Agustín de Sotolongo, who gave them for free for the construction of the fortress. The capture of this area by the English, even though El Morro resisted, doubtlessly hastened the downfall of the Spanish. The name La Cabaña (The Hut) comes from some huts built in the area. The name of San Carlos comes from the king Carlos III. He requested a spyglass, headed for a balcony of the palace and responded to the question of some visitors, about what he wanted to see.
    He claimed: “The Cabaña, such a valuable work, should be spotted from Madrid”.

    Cabaña fortressIn the 18th century a cannon shot used to be fired to warn the townsfolk that the gates of the city were about to open or close. In the beginning, the shot was fired from a ship of the Fleet and then from La Cabaña. The scheduled time for the shot has changed over time. Nowadays the inhabitants of the area surrounding the bay can hear every day at 9:00 pm a shot fired by one of the several Spanish guns that the castle has kept since the 18th century. It remains as a ceremony of a deep historical meaning.

    This fortress, along with the Three Morro Kings Fortress comprises the Military Morro -Cabaña Park, the largest museum in the country. It took in the main military bodies of the Spanish crown and served as a prison to the countless patriots of the war for independence in the last century where some of them were also shot.

    The fortress holds the most important ancient weapon collection of the country: a catapult and a mediaeval ariet natural size; the snake shape swords from southern Asia; the Indian katar, the dreadful three blades dagger; the worshipped samurai’s katanas, the Islamic decorated rifles and the complete battery of cannons from the 18th Century made in Sevilla.

    cabaña fortressThe Cabaña was venue to the headquarters of Ernesto Che Guevara during the first months after the triumph of the revolution in 1959. There is an exhibition of his personal objects and photos at the house where he settled.

    The distinctive touch of this place comes with the most typical of Havana traditions: The Cannon Shot Ceremony, a ceremony taking place every night starting 20:30.

    San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, located in the municipality of East Havana, is included in the system of fortresses that along with the Old Havana was declared by the UNESCO as World Heritage

  • To view all Colonial Fortress in Havana then click here .
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  • Airports next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña
  • Havana Airport

    José Martí International Airport (IATA: HAV, ICAO: MUHA), sometimes known by its former name Rancho-Boyeros Airport, is located 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is a hub for Cubana de Aviación, Aerogaviota, and Aero Caribbean, and former Latin American hub for Aeroflot Soviet Airlines.[2] It is Cuba's main international and domestic gateway, and serves several million passengers each year. The airport lies in the municipality of Boyeros and connects Havana with the rest of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, Europe, and one destination in Africa. It is named in memory of patriot and poet José Martí. In the 1960s the airport was bombed by B-26 aircraft from Brigade 2506, a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles attempting to liberate Cuba from Fidel Castro. Cubans are not allowed to own aircraft or use the airport for either private or commercial flight. Only government-owned aircraft are allowed to use the facilities. There are currently four passenger terminals in use at the airport, plus a freight terminal.[3] Terminal 1 is used primarily for domestic flights. Terminal 2 opened in 1988, primarily for charter flights to the United States. Ten years later on April 27, 1998, the International Terminal 3 was opened by Canada's then-Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, and former Cuban president, Fidel Castro. International Terminal 3 offers many modern facilities and jetways that the former international Terminal 1 did not provide. Terminal 5 is operated by Aerocaribbean. Today, Copa Airlines is the foreign airline with most flights to the airport, operating 34 flights a week (roughly 5 daily flights) from Panama City, Panama, and Bogota, Colombia. The airport is operated by Empresa Cubana de Aeropuertos y Servicios Aeronáuticos (ECASA).

  • Playa Baracoa Airport

    Playa Baracoa Airport serves domestic flights scheduled by the local airline Aerogaviota and is situated about 28 km west of Havana, in the village of Playa Baracoa, (Province Artemisa).

  • Car Rental offices next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • Car Rental office Hotel Ambos Mundos

    Calle Obispo esq Mercaderes, Habana Vieja
    8669616 864m

    Car Rental office Museo de la Revolucion

    Calle Refugio. Nro. 1, entre Zuleta y Avenida de las Misiones
    78632271 950m

    Car Rental office Crucero

    Avenida del Puerto, la Habana Vieja
    8660284 1km 066m

    Car Rental office Terminal de Crucero

    Ave del Puerto. Habana Vieja.
    8626343 1km 068m

    Car Rental office Hotel Sevilla

    Paseo del Padro esq Refugio, La Habana Vieja
    8669156 1km 217m

  • Gas stations next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • La Rampa

    Calle 23 e Infanta, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8731480/873148 3km 024m

    L y 17

    L y 17, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 334587 3km 743m


    Vía Blanca No. 46005 y 462, Intermitente de Guanabo. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 964093/964094 3km 743m


    Malecón y 13. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 334588 3km 926m


    Paseo y Malecon. Havana City. Cuba. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 333027 5km 438m

    17 y 12

    Calle 12 esq. a 17, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8339238/8333272 5km 721m


    Ayestarán y Ave. de Rancho Boyeros. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 666051 5km 823m

    Santa Catalina

    Santa Catalina y Vento. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 335531 6km 534m

    El Tunel

    Calle 2 No. 518 e/ 5ta. B y 7ma. B, Miramar, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2041906/2047470 6km 808m

    31 y 18

    Ave. 31 y 18, Miramar. Havana City. Cuba. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2040520 7km 488m

  • Restaurants next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • Los Doce Apostoles

    Complejo Morro - Cabana, Casablanca, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8638295 138m

    La Divina Pastora

    Complejo Morro - Cabana, Casablanca, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8665432 144m

    La Tasca

    Complejo Morro - Cabana, Casablanca, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8665432 144m

    Bar Cabana

    Cuba No. 12 esq. a Pena Pobre, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8605670 671m

    Don Ricardo, Hotel Palacio de O'Farril

    Cuba No. 102 esq. a Chacon, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8605080 727m

    El Templete

    Ave. del Puerto No.12 esq. a Narciso Lopez, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8668807 736m

    El Patio

    Plaza de la Catedral, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8671034 739m

    Don Giovanni

    Old Havana. Cuba
    +53 7 335979 749m

    La Bodeguita del Medio

    Calle Empedrado No. 207, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8671364 757m

    El Condado, Hotel Santa Isabel

    Baratillo No. 9 e/ Obispo y Narciso Lopez, Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8608201 771m

  • Automatic Cash next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • 0011

    Calle 17 e/ M y N, FOCSA. Havana City
    3km 608m


    Línea No. 705 e/ Paseo y A. Havana City
    5km 285m


    Calle 1ra. No. 40 e/ 0 y 2, CIMEX
    6km 961m


    Calle 70 e/ 1ra. y 3ra., Hotel LTI Panorama. Havana City
    10km 023m


    Calle 17 No. 8215 e/ 82 y 84. Havana City
    10km 319m


    Ave. 3ra. e/ 78 y 80. Havana City
    10km 391m


    Calle 16 No. 306 e/ 3ra. y 5ta.. Havana City
    10km 391m


    Calle 16 No. 310 e/ 3ra. y 5ta. Havana City
    10km 391m


    5ta. Ave. esq. a 112. Havana City
    11km 693m

  • Currency Exchange next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • Lonja del Comercio

    Calle Oficios esq. a Baratillo. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 669628 989m

    Hotel Sevilla

    Paseo del Prado esq. a Refugio. Havana City
    (537) 8639030 1km 197m

    Hotel Parque Central

    Paseo del Prado e/ Neptuno y Virtudes. Havana City
    1km 367m

    Hotel Deauville

    Calle Galiano esq. a Malecón. Havana City. Havana City. Cuba
    1km 541m

    Hotel Vedado

    Calle O e/ 23 y 21. Havana City. Havana City. Cuba
    3km 214m

    Hotel Nacional

    Calle O y 21. Havana City
    (537) 8733564 3km 473m

    Hotel Cohiba

    Calle Paseo e/ 1ra. y 3ra. Havana City. Havana City. Cuba
    5km 481m

    Hotel Riviera

    Calle Paseo esq. a Malecón. Havana City
    (537) 662185 5km 567m

    Agromercado 15 y 24

    Calle 15 y 24, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 333915 6km 417m


    Ave. 5ta.B esq. a calle 2. Havana City. Cuba
    6km 832m

  • Clinics next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • Hermanos Ameijeiras

    San Lazaro No. 701 e/ Belascoain y Marquez Gonzalez. Centro Haban
    (537) 8761000 2km 384m

    Retinosis Pigmentaria Centro Internacional Camilo Cienfuegos

    Calle L No. 151 e/ Linea y 13, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8333886 3km 840m

    Instituto Cardiovascular

    Calle 17 esq. a Paseo, Vedado. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 8382652-53 5km 005m

    SPA Hotel Riviera

    Malecón y Paseo, Vedado . Havana City
    (537) 8368756 5km 567m

    Sucursal Servicios Médicos Internacionales

    Calle 18 No. 4304 e/ 43 y 47, Miramar. Havana City
    (537) 2040114 7km 182m

    Centro de Histoterapia Placentaria

    Calle 18 esq. a 43. Playa. Havana City. Cuba
    7km 205m

    Cira Garcia, Clinica Central

    Calle 20 No. 4101 esq. a 41. Playa . Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2040331 7km 272m

    Ramon Pando Ferrer, Hospital

    Calle 76 No. 3104. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2654800 9km 649m

    Comodoro, SPA Club

    Ave 1ra. y 84, Miramar. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2045049 10km 587m

    Orthopedic Hospital Frank Pais

    Ave. 51 No. 19603 e/ 196 y 200. Havana City, Cuba
    (537) 2627022 ext. 478 13km 573m

  • Drugstores next to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
  • International Drugstore Hotel Sevilla

    Calle Prado esq. a Trocadero. Havana City
    (5348) 8615703 1km 197m

    International Drugstore Hotel Habana Libre

    Calle 23 esq. a L , Vedado. Havana City
    (5348) 8319538 3km 514m

    International Drugstore 41 y 20

    Ave. 41 esq. a 20, Miramar. Havana City
    (537) 2069985 7km 336m

    International Drugstore Casa Bella

    7ma. Ave. y 22 No. 2603. Havana City
    (537) 2047980 7km 855m

    International Drugstore Miramar Centro de Negocios

    Ave 3ra. y 82, Miramar. Havana City
    (537) 2044515 10km 382m

    International Drugstore SPA Comodoro

    Ave 3ra. y 84, Miramar. Havana City. Cuba
    (537) 2049385 10km 587m

  • Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña is located in Havana
  • Capital of Cuba and the country's administrative, political, cultural and scientific center, it is also the capital of two provinces: City of Havana and Havana. Though only around 280 square miles (727 square kilometers) in size-0.65 percent of the archipelago's total area.

    The Old Havana and system of forts led UNESCO to declare it a part of world heritage in 1982. Founded on its present site in 1519, the settlement of San Cristobal de La Habana prospered mainly due to its bay, which was a natural port of call for ships sailing to and from the New World. Starting in 1634, because of its strategic location, San Cristobal de La Habana was considered the key to the New World-as attested to by royal letters patent-and the main defense of the West Indies.

    The Cuban capital consists of an immense number of buildings in a wide range of architectural styles, built in the course of nearly five centuries. These styles range from the pre-baroque to the baroque, neo-Gothic, neoclassical, eclectic, art noveau and art-deco, to the modern.

    Alejo Carpentier, one of Cuba's most famous authors, called it "the city of columns" and focused attention on its streets, which he considered a perennially rich show of life, humanity and contrasts that was bound to entertain any observer.

    Over 14 kilometers of excellent beaches lie to the east of the Cuban capital. To the south, a green belt contributes to a healthful atmosphere.

  • Reviews
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    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      San Carlos de la Cabana fortress
      The San Carlos de la Cabana fortress is located to the east of Havana City and is the biggest fortress in America. The San Carlos de la Cabana fortress or La Cabana was built by King Carlos III, one of the Spanish kings in the late eighteenth century. The fortress derives the first part of its name, from the king who commissioned its construction and the latter half of its name came into being as a result of a few houses or huts that were in the vicinity of the fortress, as it was being constructed. San Carlos fortress La Cabana was constructed over a period of eleven years by Silvestre Abarca, one of Spain’s’ most well known architects of the time, with the assistance of two French engineers. The San Carlos de la Cabana cost fourteen million euros to construct and is considered to be a fine example of some of the finest European military implementations. The fortress boasts a unique hydraulic system designed to resemble the curved flanks favoured by the French at that time. The fortress also features a dry moat and high walls and a garrison that could, if the need arose, hold up to six thousand men at a time. Adapting these various elements meant that the San Carlos de la Cabana fortress was the ultimate in functionality, modernity and every other dynamic that plays a role in the course of battle; it is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Although the fortress has never really been a part of a war, it is still being put to use. In the eighteenth century to warn people, a shot was fired from the fortress to warn people when the city gates were opening or closing. This tradition is maintained even today, with a shot being fired every night at nine p.m. The fortress is home to a stunning array of weapons from all across the world and has also served as Che Guevara’s headquarters for a period in 1959.

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Average

      “Over-rated ”
      We went to the canon ceremony which takes place every night at 9pm, which many of the guidebooks recommend. In truth the ceremony was a bit boring with a long slow build up and then the canon is fired and its over after 5 seconds. I'm surprised by how popular this event is, hundreds of people were there on the... More 

    • birdsofafeather1
      Mike M
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Average

      “Nothing special ”
      After seeing a lot of castles and fortresses in Europe, nothing special here... But the view on Havana is wonderful, you can see Old Havan, Parque Central and Vedado with the Malecon!

    • birdsofafeather1
      Rob R R
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Very good

      “Havana's Great Castle ”
      This is a huge castle built to defend the entrance to Havana harbour, and shows the classic Spanish design for such fortifications.

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Very good

      “Big sprawling castle ”
      We came in the off-season - no one here except staff. Huge grounds, great views of the city. Allow at least an hour and be prepared for some walking. A few exhibits of armour, weaponry. Good access from here to the nearby Christ statue and Casa Blanca ferry.

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Very good

      “Worth a visit! ”
      If you are in Havana visit it. Every night at 9 there is the canon ceremony, the castle is beautiful and you have a great view of Havana!

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Very good

      “The 9pm Cannon Ceremony is missed by most tourists, but very popular with Cubans ”
      Located on the other side of thr harbour to Havasna City. The fort is the largest in the Americas and was never attacked or damaged. One of the best tourist spectacles in Havana is the 9pm Cannon Ceremony. This is a great Havana tradition, and signified that it was 9pm and all of the city gates were closing. The young... More 

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      “Cañonazo ”
      Really enjoyed the Cañonazo and historical reenactment of the cannon shooting ceremony. Spend the additional 2 pesos to enjoy the view sitting down with a complimentary mojito.

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      “Guns and Walls ”
      After Havana were return to Spanish dominion by the British in 1763, one of the priorities was fortifier the hill where this fortress stands today and which was the place that decided the Spanish defeat a year before, taken in account its privileged position. During eleven years the Spanish crown worked on the issue and in 1774 the new fortress... More 

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      “Great Central Spot, LOTS TO SEE ”
      We were very luck to be upgraded to the Hotel San Felipe located on this square, there is a massive 15th century convent on this square , which is a must see as well as all the priceless church artifacts of solid gold and silver 500 years old. You are allowed to go up into the belltower which is amazing,... More 

    • birdsofafeather1
      Joost N
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      “Nice fortress ”
      Besides the very bureaucratic entrance tickets system (at the moment we were there, the electricity did not worked, and we had to wait for more than half an hour..), this fortress is beautiful. It is big, you can have a stroll around, and we saw the fantastic view with sunset. Every night from 9 pm you can see the canonball... More 

    • birdsofafeather1
      Review about Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña Colonial Fortress
      Awfull Excellent

      “Great history, exibits are good, great exercise. ”
      If you are allergic to walking and exercise then you may not want to explore here, but if that does not hinder you, then this is the place to tour. Great views of Havana, great history lesson and more.