The Lost Art of Embedded Sidewalk Signage (Havana)

                     If you’ve gotten this far (actually reading the post) some of you might be wondering what I’m talking about. Let me start by saying that a few years ago an artist entered the Havana Bienal with a series of pictures similar to the ones I’ve posted….and I wondered the same thing. I now understand, it is an Art Form, one hardly used today but still evident along Havana streets. There was a time when shops or department stores embedded their names into the sidewalks in front their buildings and it’s still there for you see when you walk along the streets of Havana. The actual building may not be there or at least the original store but the sidewalk has survived decades of people marching over them and the signs may be the only thing remaining. Some are simple scrip with only the name of the place being displayed while others are a quasi work of art. All of these signs were found within the downtown core, Habana Vieja & Centro Habana, mostly along Galiano, Obispo and Monte. Maybe the next time you take a trip to Havana you might look down as well as up.

Obispo Street

The Hotel Sevilla opened on March 22, 1908 and is still operating today

The Komfort Mattress store on Galiano…no longer the same store

Hotel Bristol at the corner of San Rafael and Amistad. Once a luxurious hotel, it’s decline came after the openings of Hotels Riviera, Capri and The Habana Libre in the mid 50’s. Today it’s used as public housing. 

Woolworths at the corner of Galiano and San Rafael. Cubans referred to it as the Ten Cent store is now operating under another name and nowhere near resembling anything of it’s past

Fin de Siglo department store at the corner of Galiano and San Rafael. It was one of the most important commercial establishments in Cuba before 1959. It operates under the same name but only a shadow of  what it once was

Laboratorios Vieta – Plasencia SA (Calle Reina #310) was the fourth largest laboratory in Cuba before 1959