Picturesque Map of Havana with House Numbers


José María de la Torre y de la Torre (1815-73) was a Cuban geographer, archaeologist, historian, and educator. De la Torre’s 1849 Plano Pintoresco de La Habana con los números de las casas (Picturesque map of Havana with house numbers) has great importance from a geographic point of view. The map shows the names of the streets, house numbers, promenades, fortifications, and public buildings, and the division of the city by neighborhoods. The scale is in varas castellanas (Castilian yards, an old unit of measurement that varied with time and place, equivalent to about 0.84 meters). An inset map in the lower right shows the port of Havana and nearby areas, including the fortifications of El Morro, La Punta, and La Cabaña. The map is framed by 14 engraved illustrations from Album Pintoresco de La Isla de Cuba (Picturesque album of the island of Cuba) by Federico Mialhe (1810−81), giving the map an artistic beauty. The engravings depict: a fashionable crowd gathered at the Noble Havana Fountain (also known as the Indian Fountain) on Isabel II Promenade, the Gran Teatro de Tacón, the jail and penitentiary, Havana Cathedral, the military hospital, Villanueva train station, Morro Castle, a fine general view of Havana, the gas reservoir, the Templete (a monument to the religious foundation of Havana), the grand house of the Count of Fernandina, the almshouse, City Hall, and Havana circus building.

Last updated: July 23, 2015