The Capitol of Havana !!

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early childhood years ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country. Again the pictures are from 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I.

One of the most recognisable buildings in Havana and a childhood past time. This is a wonderful building and a must to see while in Havana.  I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana.  The building was destined to host the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba, before its unfortunate revolution. After the Cuban communist revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

havana entero

El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft). It is located between the  calle Pardo, calle Dragones, calle Industria, and calle San Jose, streets. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. The materials  needed to built it were about five million bricks, 38000 cubic meters of sand and 40000 of stones, 150,000 bags of cement, three 1500 tons of structural steel and two thousand of dowels, quantities truly impressive at the times.  It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls in this section were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

havana capitolio-middle-diamond-all-dist-in-cuba-measure

The details of the work made the Capitol building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

havana capitolio front

To continue the description of this wonderful Capitol building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the communist revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne or Giraldilla under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof. Among the treasures of the installation is the statue that symbolizes the Republic (Giraldilla), Legend of love, history, art, symbol….. everything enclosed in this little statue, made by the Cuban sculptor Jeronimo Martin Pinzon in the 3rd decade of the 17C , and which today is the third largest sculpture under the roof in the world.

havana capitolio-la-giraldilla-simbolo-de-la-habana

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidosthe hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance. The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by a Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba (so they said).  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio de La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.

havana capitolio-pas-perdu

The Capitol of Havana constitutes one of the most notable symbols of the city, comparable to the Morro Castle,  Cathedral and the image of the architectural profile of the Malecón . It is named by some experts as one of the six most important palaces in the world.  It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it as I flashing memories in my mind.

The trip Cuba travel site reg in Cuba on the Capitol of Havanahttps://www.tripcuba.org/el-capitolio-havana

The La Habana private travel site on the Capitol of Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/capitolio/

The Havana tourist office on its heritage: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

There you go folks,another dandy memory lane monument in my precious Havana. The Capitol building is it, read could be under renovations, needed for sure but worth the wait to see it anytime. Me always dreaming someday to see all of this again with a better government. Hope you enjoy the post as I recalling these memorable monuments of my Cuba.

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

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