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Restoration

Since Old Havana was made a World UNESCO heritage site in 1982 dozens of buildings have been restored within the city. Older, more unique buildings such as the Cathedral and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza were the first to be preserved, however, today one can see a wider emphasis all over Old Havana and in certain neighbourhoods including along the Malecon.

Recent increased tourism in Havana has helped rejuvenate the old city with new restaurants and hotels opening in newly preserved buildings. Recent examples of restored buildings include the Hotel Florida, Iglesia de Paula and the Ministry for Culture.

In the early years of the revolution there was little governmental endorsement for restoration of Havana's built environment. In 1980 two agencies were given responsibility for the centre's historic preservation, the City Historian's Department of Architecture office and The National Centre for Conservation, Restoration, and Museum studies (CENCREM). In the early 1990s the city historian Eusebio Leal Spengler formed Habaguanex, a company trading commercial incentives for preservation. Principally, it rents out office space, manages restaurants, negotiates with foreign investors and directs money into restoration of the city.

Today, Havana's urban environment still contains vast areas of crumbling buildings, unable to afford much needed care and attention. Organisations such as The Cuban National Heritage based in Miami, Florida have been set up to halt the disintegration of Havana's Built environment. There is still however, a long way to go to help preserve a city of so many diverse styles and influences.

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