Street of Books

Obispo Street, La Habana

Daily 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Obispo is one of my favourite streets in Old Havana. You can find everything: a lot of people (which is not always necessarily good, although sometimes it is), places to sit and eat, places to have a snack standing, shops, hair salons, schools, banks, museums, pharmacies… I love everything about Obispo, it makes me wonder how, in a relatively small place, there can so many things.

In addition to the cobblestones, the wooden balconies, the dogs with identification around their necks, what I like about Obispo is the feeling it leads to me, it seems to me that since I go in and until I go out, I'm in a giant book store. It is one of the streets with more books in Havana: when you pass by any of those places selling books, the environment changes, changes the smell, and you cannot think in anything else but to take, at least, a copy back home. And therein lays another of the charms of both, streets and books. The diversity that allows us to find the a novel by Leonardo Padura, Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima (or any other pillar of Cuban literature), or to find the complete works of José Martí, is simply amazing.

If we go in Obispo Street coming from the Capitolio Hill we will find, standing as guardians of the street, two book stores: La Moderna Poesía and Ateneo Cervantes; we continue walking and in the middle of Obispo, we can enter in the dusty but attractive Venecia and Victoria; these two private libraries offer to readers rare and second hand books; and to finish with goldenseal, the beautiful Fayad Jamís, which sells the very best and most contemporary Cuban Literature. Obispo is precious for many things, but mainly for all its books.

By: Adriana Marcelo Costa

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