One of the essential if you go to Havana is the Callejón de Hamel. A street of barely 200 meters full of Afro-Cuban art and culture.
BRIEF HISTORY OF CALLEJÓN
About 1940, the Cuban movement called “filin” was born in this alley. Its creators were Tirso Díaz and his son Ángel, this movement emphasizes that it stands out for having a very sentimental music, with slow melodies and love lyrics.
Thanks to Salvador González Escalona, Cuban sculptor and muralist, this small alley in Havana has become the emblematic place that is today, representative of the Afro-Cuban culture. On April 21, 1990, the community cultural project was born. Salvador had come to the alley to paint a mural in the house of a friend and spontaneously the neighbors began to join and turned one more alley in the alley of Hamel. Full of colorful murals, with paintings that represent and transmit the message of the Afro-Cuban culture. In the murals of Salvador we find both religious and cultural elements that help the artist to show in a surrealistic way the mythical and magical essence of Afro-Cuban culture.
The name alley is given in honor of an American of franco-german origin, Fernando Belleau Hamel, who at the beginning of the XX century created a business in one of the lands of the alley that gave work to many people, mainly of black ethnicity and China. And not only did he create his business in the neighborhood, he also built homes to offer a home to his workers.
Today, there are different activities in El Callejón, from children’s painting workshops or live Afro-Cuban music, dance and theater performances.
DISCOVER THE AFRO-CUBAN CULTURE IN THE CALLEJÓN
Entering the Callejón is like entering an open-air temple in which all around you tells you the history of the Afro-Cuban culture and the Yoruba religion. Only the entrance surprises you, it represents a temple made of stone to worship the Orishas, the African gods who had in the stone the cabin to keep their energy.
In the murals you will find cultural elements such as the gods, the Orishas, and you can also read sentences and poems that speak of love, art, life …
WHEN AND WHERE TO VISIT THE CALLEJON
You can go at any time, although our favorite day of the week is Sunday as it is full of people dancing to the rhythm of Afro-Cuban music, dances representing different Orishas.
The alley transports you to a Cuba full of energy, of percussion, of struggle for freedom, of santería with its accelerated rhythm.
The alley is in the neighborhood of Cayo Hueso, between the streets Aramburu and Hospital.
We can not stop going every time we visit Havana! You can join one of our trips if you want to know it 🙂