A number of mysterious sculptures in Havana are among the most significant attractions for foreign tourists visiting the Cuban capital.
Colorful, picturesque and mystical, the village of San Cristobal de La Habana combines its history of nearly five centuries with personages who have been immortalized in either bronze or stone, thus attracting tourists looking for traditions and celebrities.
Havana has many interesting statues, some of which are already classic and emblematic, like the Christ of the Bay or that of Jose Marti at Revolution Square.
However, a curious walk could be that in which visitors look for vivid statues of famous, mythical or typical quasi anonymous personages. There are many such statues in Havana, from different periods and origins. Let us list some of them, because very near Havana's Malecon (seafront drive), Jose Marti, Cuba's national hero, stands out, carrying a child in his arms and pointing to the United States Embassy.
On Avenida del Puerto (Port Avenue), very close to the Church of Paula, there is an elegant statue of Agustin Lara, the world-renowned Mexican composer. The sculpture was donated by the people and the government of Veracruz in November 2000.
There are statues of gods like Neptune, with his inseparable trident pointing to the Bay of Havana.
Also on the Malecon, there are interested statues that are quite unknown to most passersby, like that of Pierre Le Moyne O'Iberville, a renowned military officer from New France, currently Canada, who was an admiral during the ruling of Louis 14th and died in Havana in 1706.
The statue was donated by the government of Quebec and was erected on November 14, 1999, by the Office of the City Historian.
Still more unknown is the statue of Hasehura Rokuemon Tsunenaga, a Japanese hero from the city of Sendai and the first citizen of that Asian country who visited Cuba in 1614.
Another significant statue is that of Don Francisco de Albear y Lara (the engineer who designed the aqueduct of Havana, which is still operational), unveiled in the park named after him, near the Floridita Restaurants, on October 24, 1887, immediately after his death.
The Cuban artist Jorge Villa is the creator of many other sculptures, including that of John Lennon, sitting on a park's bench with his calm and evoking expression in the Havana neighborhood of El Vedado.
His artworks also include a statue of Ernest Hemingway, leaning on the bar in El Floridita; Mother Theresa of Calcutta, in the yard of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Old Havana, and the Caballero de Paris (The Knight of Paris), 'walking' in front of that temple.
The latter is a mythical popular personage who existed and transformed his dementia and kindness into a symbol of Havana in the 1950s.