Jardin Japones (Havana) left to ruin

                 You may think that this is the one that’s within the Jardín Botánico Nacional just outside Havana….it’s not. This Jardin Japones is located next to the Torreón de La Chorrera, at the mouth of the Almendares River where the Malecon ends. The garden sits behind the restaurant “1830” which was once the residence of Carlos Miguel de Céspedes Ortiz, a lawyer and Cuban politician. The garden was designed to be the courtyard of the mansion. The building dates back to the 19th century when it began as the Arana Restaurant to be followed by a hotel, the “Hotel La Mar”. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that it was rebuilt as the mansion of Carlos Miguel de Céspedes. Carlos Miguel named the house “Villa Miramar”.
                Carlos Miguel was born in Cárdenas, in the province of Matanzas & was a personal friend of President Machado. He was committed to his regime & fled the country after his fall. His house was ransacked and destroyed, but when he returns in 1937, he rebuilds it & lives there until his death.
               “Villa Miramar” was famous for its beauty and its privileged location facing the sea. The outer areas are joined by a small cliff of stones and marine snails to a Japanese island called “Koisima”, which in Japanese means “island of love”, which reproduces a Japanese garden with a multitude of caves, terraces, bridges and roads, all between trees and exotic plants. The dome of the roundabout is beautiful, it was made with pieces brought from India a piece at a time (under repair during my visit). He also had a pier for his yacht “Miramar” and his race boat “Cuba”, which had won several competitions. During the 50’s the property was bought by José Curráis Fernández, owner of “La Zaragozana”, a famous Havana bar-restaurant specializing in seafood. It was the Curráis family that restored the building and installed the “Restaurant 1830”. It was inaugurated in 1954.
                 Unfortunately there isn’t much left of the garden and I was warned to be careful when I ventured over, it isn’t really open to the public. You can only imagine how wonderful it all must have looked so many years ago.

Bar-Restaurante 1830
corner of Malecón (No.1252) & Calle 20
Vedado, Havana