Theme Week Havana – Havana Harbor

Friday, 9 December 2016 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Lighthouse and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro at the entrance to Havana Harbor © Mariordo/cc-by-sa-3.0

Lighthouse and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro at the entrance to Havana Harbor © Mariordo/cc-by-sa-3.0

Havana Harbor is the port of Havana, the capital of Cuba, and it is the main port in Cuba (not including Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, a territory on lease by the United States). Most vessels coming to the island make port in Havana. Havana is located on the northwest coast of Cuba, south of the Florida Keys, where the Gulf of Mexico flows into the Caribbean. Other port cities in Cuba include Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Manzanillo and Santiago de Cuba. The harbor was created from the natural Havana Bay which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbors: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. Since 2014,it has gradually been replaced by the port of the nearby Mariel, which has now become the largest container port in the Caribbean. A new train line connects the capital to the port of Mariel.

It was fortified by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century who in 1553 transferred the governor’s residence to Havana from Santiago de Cuba on the eastern end of the island, thus making Havana the de facto capital. The importance of these fortifications was early recognized as English, French, and Dutch sea marauders attacked the city in the 16th century. Later fortifications included the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña or Fort of Saint Charles, built in the 18th-century on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance as the largest fortress complex in the Americas. The fort rises above the 200-foot (60 m) hilltop, beside Morro Castle. Castillo de la Real Fuerza and San Salvador de la Punta Fortress, both constructed in sixteenth century, sit on the western side of the harbor in Old Havana.

Lighthouse and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro at the entrance to Havana Harbor © Mariordo/cc-by-sa-3.0 View from Havana Harbor to Old Havana © flickr.com - Gabriel Rodríguez/cc-by-sa-2.0 Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro at the entrance to Havana Harbor © Angelo Lucia/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Thomassin Mickaël/cc-by-2.0 View from Havana Harbor to Old Havana © flickr.com - Emmanuel Huybrechts/cc-by-2.0
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Lighthouse and Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro at the entrance to Havana Harbor © Mariordo/cc-by-sa-3.0
The town of Regla on Ensenada de Marimelena is a commercial and industrial suburb with the Galainela shipyard, ENA drydock, until recently operated as a joint venture with Curacao CDM, and the Navy’s shipyard at Casablanca. Other docks include the Havana Container Terminal (TCH), the Ñico Lopez oil refinery, formerly a Shell refinery; and flour and wheat mills and aviation fuel depots. Ensenada de Guanabacoa is the least developed of the three harbor arms. Ensenada de Atarés, the harbor in Old Havana, offers cruise ship terminals, shipping and vessel repair services operated by Asticar.

As a harbor almost completely surrounded by shipping and industrial activities, the waters of the bay suffer from environmental stress. This in turn affects the water quality of the Caribbean Sea into which it flows. Havana Bay is strongly affected by sewage dumping, and it also receives suspended solids, hydrocarbons, heavy metals and pollutants from agriculture, industry and port activities. The leading sources of pollution in the bay have been identified as the Luyano River which contains organic material, nutrients, sewage, solid waste, the Regla oil refinery, fish hatcheries, and port activities. The high concentration of hydrocarbons, heavy metals and other pollutants is of concern as the harbor is an important fishing port.

Read more on Port of Havana and Wikipedia Havana Harbor (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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