The Convento Nuestra Senora de Belen in Havana’s Old City is a social services center focusing on programs for senior citizens and disabled children. The center is housed in a restored 18th century Jesuit convent. The center offers a few slots for permanent residents, but on a daily basis some 300-400 area seniors come to enjoy arts and crafts, music and community so as not to be at home alone while their families work.
Guided tours are available for visitors and it’s a treat to mingle with the day-residents, who are happy to show off their craft projects and sometimes welcome visitors with a song.
Iglesia y Convento Nuestra Senora de Belen (Church and Convent of Our Lady of Bethlehem), Convento de Belen for short, is a renowned social services organization in Havana, Cuba, which focuses on senior care. The center is operated by the Order of the Sisters of Charity, with help from the Office of the City Historian and public health agencies.
Some fifty senior citizens are permanent residents and dozens more come daily for activities, meals and medical care. Convento de Belen also provides services for mentally and physically disabled children and operates a daycare center for young children.
Most Ya’lla trips to Cuba include a stop at Convento de Belen, where visitors leave donated goods brought from home, as well as cash gifts. We’re always lovingly received by residents, often with a song and gifts of handmade cards and handicrafts.
Plaza de Armas This is where Havana was founded, originally the governmental and ceremonial center of the city, where military exercises and parades were held. Today, you’ll see lots of book sellers, a shady park and the Hotel Ambros Mundos, where Hemingway lived for a while. The stately 18th-century Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, which now houses the Havana Museum, forms one side of the square and Castillo de la Real Fuerza fortress is nearby.