Arabs in Cuba

Being of Iraqi-Assyrian descent, it’s understandable that I was caught by surprise walking down the Prado in Havana and seeing arabic script on some signs, or noticing the moorish influences on so many of the buildings.

But the arab influence in Cuba goes beyond merely architecture; indeed, Arabs had a part to play in many chapters of Cuba’s history.

While Havana’s Arab community is not large by any standard, they have their own “union” and community centers, museum, mosque for those who practice Islam, and even an Arabic restaurant (which I haven’t tried yet). You can even easily take Arabic lessons - for free, something that I can’t do almost anywhere else.

Violence drives Palestinians from homes - to Cuba
Arabs in Cuba - from the earliest times
The Arabs of Havana

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006
Élizita's picture

Sopresa! Choukran!

I knew about the diversity in Cuba, had some knowledge of the Moores influence in Spain, then latino America... but that an actual gathering existed in contemporary Cuba! no lo sabia!

 Tus fotos son magnificas.... thanks for taking us in the many corners of Cuba. I enjoy seeing other cities diversity and seing it through your eyes is quite a journey!

Gracias otra vez por los viajes,


walaa quisay
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
walaa quisay's picture


I have been interested in Cuba for quite awhile, interested in its culture and politics. i intend to go there in December and was wondering about the places with Arab populations since im egyptian. I would love to hear all there is about Arab community in cuba and maybe when i get to cuba i could visit their neighborhoods or where they hang out =) this would be a great thing for me

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Walaa,

You will definitely enjoy your time in Cuba. You will definitely want to check out the Arab community center on Prado in Havana as your starting point - from there, they'll be able to suggest other places for you to visit. There's also a newish Egyptian Coptic church somewhere near the port I think, and a mosque or two.

If you make any discoveries be sure to share your photos and take notes to share them with others who may go!

Have fun,


Friday, September 26th, 2008
elizita's picture

Marawaba Waala!

I'd like to add that 2009 is a GREAT time to visit, since the 14th Havana International Poetry Festival, from May 2009 25-30, dedicated to poetry of the Middle Eastern countries.


Monday, September 29th, 2008
jessica's picture

My name is Jessica and i was born in Cuba i came to the u.s when i was 12
but on my grandfathers side of the family some are Arabian i remember always seen my grandfather entering the La Casa Arabe in Cuba and talking to everyone there but he never told us where our Arabian family lived or their last name i guess my mom never paid mush attention to the culture but when i grew up i started liking Arabic culture more and more but by the time i wanted to ask my grandfather where our family was or the last name he died so now i am learning Arabic and hopping that when i visit Cuba again someone from his family knows the Arabian last name that runs in our family if anyone knows a website to find lost family please tell me i will appreciate it
thank you

Walaa Quisay
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
Walaa Quisay's picture

Thank you very much checking out thoes places would be really cool. Its amazing and beautiful how two great cultures can have so much solidarity. Its really really cool. Thank you soo much for your help I do really appreciate it
Jessica whats your last name, because some names are popular for some countries, I can help :)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Jessica,

It's probably difficult for you to do at this point, but if you one day make it to Havana you can visit the casa arabe on Prado street and ask them - they will surely have records there, someone who remember, or at least point you in the right direction. It would definitely be quite the adventure, and probably answer a lot of questions for you.

Also, kudos on learning Arabic - it's a very tough language to learn; I've tried a couple times already.

Again, your best bet at this point is to go to Cuba and find out for yourself.

Best of luck,


Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Incognito's picture

guillermo jose agrci vasquiez pelsed tell me if you can adessherhiredshieedt to the book i want to presednted as aufrieshedthssezz to mine 1800-827-1000 san juan puerto rico

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