The Lonja del Comercio of Havana!

Sometimes surprises in life do happenned, and lucky me from work  I needed to go to Havana, Cuba. A whimsical place of many years and family memories, I was born there but left too young as a boy, came back once to see my grandparents who raised me, and now back again. What a change, what a shock full of wonderful memories and honest, too good people, humble ,nice, friendly, like been back into the family again. This is La Habana  or Havana or the complete real name San Cristobal de la Habana; St Christopher the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(the best baseball team on the island,and my family’s team).

I did my walks and drove an American car around for a while, passing by many memorable buildings of faded memories. One that I was able to distinguished was the Lonja del Comercio now an office building located on Calle Lamparilla No.2, in Plaza de San Francisco de Asisi, in the center of Old Havana. Its construction began in 1907 and ended in 1909, on land that belonged to the wealthy Arosteguti and Armona families.

havana la Longia de comercio Feb12

Eminently Renaissance in style and eclectic in character. Its facade shows a very varied decoration. On the dome was placed a bronze statue of Mercury 4 meters high, the Greek god of commerce, which is visible from a distance.In the original design it had only five floors for the stock exchange, warehouse, offices and other activities of the Lonja, over the years it was expanded and some transformations were made that did not involve major changes in its fundamental characteristics.  It was the first building in the city to use elevators and it was the tallest building in the colonial city; For which the first skyscraper in Cuba was known for decades. The unique dome with its skylights that are located in the upper part guarantee lighting and ventilation. Its core is a central patio that is surrounded by the floors. On the façade, the large amount of ornamentation with motifs dedicated to trade stands out. This wonderful building also highlights the Moorish influence in its interior decoration and the large central patio that acts as a hall and distributor.

At first it was destined to the offices of the Lonja de Víveres de La Habana, which later became the Lonja del Comercio, that is, the Stock Exchange and the contracting house of the city, work that it carried out until the triumph of the Cuban revolution, in 1959. In the 10,000 square meters that this building has, it has automated systems to locate intruders, detect and prevent fires, central air conditioning control, computerized communications equipment that make it an intelligent building; national and foreign companies are based.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana in English:

The webpage on the Lonja del Comercio in English:

It was indeed a flashback and nice to see again even if sad on its conditions.  There you go folks, a dandy building to see if ever changes, but for many possible. This is part of the old beautiful history of my Havana showing its splendor of its best. Hope you enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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