Havana Capitol building reopens to the public after eight years of restoration works

Posted: 10-Mar-18 10:17

Havana's majestic Capitol building is ready to receive visitors once more. Since 2010, the stunning landmark, whose structure is inspired by the Washington monument, was closed due to necessary restoration works. Today the Capitol, which has recovered its former glory, will be welcoming the public for free until the month of April and is set to retake its place as the headquarters of Cuban Parliament.

Havana Capitol building reopens to the public after eight years of restoration works

Situated in the heart of the city, just steps from Old Havana, Cuba’s iconic Capitol building recently re-opened its doors to the public. The historic landmark, which had been undergoing major restoration works for the past eight years, has now recovered its magnificence and flare. To celebrate, visitors are now allowed in for free until the month of April. Groups of up to 15 people will be able to enjoy a guided tour within one of the island’s most beautiful pieces of architecture.

In a statement to the local press, Rene Cruz from Havana’s Historian Office, the institution in charge of the Capitol’s restoration as well as that of the entire UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Havana, declared that the building is now safe to visit and that there are still some repairs to be made in the structure’s southern corner. These ongoing touches are expected to be completed by November 2019, just in time to commemorate Havana’s 500th anniversary.

Inaugurated in 1929, the “Capitolio Nacional” was designed by Cuban architects Raul Otero and Eugenio Rayneri Piedra. Since it opened, the building was used as the headquarters of Cuba’s Congress until the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. In the past decades, the Capitol was home to the Cuban Science Academy and the island’s Science, Technology and Environment Ministry. Today, the building has returned to its former glory and will retake its original purpose as headquarters of the Cuban Parliament.

Havana’s Capitol is considered the third most important edification of its kind thanks to its grand size and unique 20th century traits. With its dome measuring 91.72 metres, the building was inspired by Washington’s Capitol, Rome’s San Pietro Basilica in the Vatican and Paris’ Pantheon.

One of its main interior attractions is the 120-metre long “Pasos Perdidos” hall, which is home to the 15-metre-high sculpture of “La Republica”. This beautiful bronze figure is considered the third largest indoor statue in the world. There are several other interesting halls to visit: the Yara Hall, with its stunning collection of impeccable cutlery and China; the Jimaguayu Hall, with sculptures by Italian artist Angelo Zanelli; and Baragua Hall, a space designed for conferences and work meetings.

Finally, the Capitol’s crypt encloses the remains of the “unknown mambi” (name given to soldiers who fought against Spanish troops for Cuban independence). This space is decorated with flags from all over the American continent, the “La Patria” sculpture, the country’s official coat of arms and the original music sheet where Cuba’s national anthem was written.

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