Thursday, February 02, 2017

Jose Marti Memorial Tower

On the southern border of the Plaza of the Revolution in Havana stands the Jose Marti Memorial Tower.  It is all kinds of beautiful.

Originally completed in 1958, it has always honored Jose Marti. He is a hero to the Revolution of Castro and the Freedom of Cuba that was celebrated pre-Castro.  Jose Marti was born to Spanish Colonial parents in Cuba - then a colony of Spain.  He wrote eloquently about freedom in Cuba and Latin American in general.

He is a hero to all Cubans.

So, we visited the Memorial and it is a really odd and wonderful mix of styles.

It is a tower in the star shape, that rises tall - and has an observation deck on the top. The Tower exterior itself is a combo Art-Deco / Fascist grandeur that would be dull all alone.

But it is paired with a stunning statue of Marti out front. Surrounded by half-completed columns (because his work isn't done), the blazing white marble statue of Jose kneeling, quite literally, grounds the tower and statue to the plaza.
Me - for scale
Then we went up. I don't know when they redid and cleaned the top (or maybe it has always been that sparkly) but the tile mosaics up there are the best of the late 50's early 60's style.

The darker green on green (greounded colors) on the right are echo'ed in the lobby, but the vibrant colors all but sing homage to the sky.
The only other place I have seen this done (and not nearly as well) are the old walkways under LAX. The old United and American Airline Terminals were originally access via underground walkways ( actually the terminal were, but most were plain dull white walkways). The terminals were called satellite buildings because planes could park all around them.  For a while they were still used occasionally as you could take the escalators down in the middle of terminals 5, 6 and 7 to exit to baggage claim.  They had them on the walls.  You still see them in occasional movies and old TV shows.

Come on!  How gorgeous is that.

But the mosaics at the memorial outshine their contemporaries by miles.  The are light and cheery and so artistic.

The LAX mosaics - similar style, different purpose - to give an experience of the passage of time and space as you move between the grounded Los Angeles, and the flight of the terminal
Can you tell I loved them.

And the views weren't bad either!

Towards Old Town and the Harbor

Towards the Malacon and the Vedado