El Capitolio, Havana

4 out of 5 stars 39 Reviews

Paseo de Marti (Prado)

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  • El Capitolio
    by Camping_Girl
  • Street view from the steps of the Capitol
    Street view from the steps of the...
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    Capitolio
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  • russian_yaz's Profile Photo

    The Havana Capitol, bigger than Washington's

    by russian_yaz Written Apr 8, 2005

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    The Capitol in Havana

    Tourist visiting the old village of San Cristobal de La Habana often ask for the location of this building, considered the second highest spot in the city.

    Machado, the president under whom the capitol was build, from April 1, 1926 to 1929, was proud of saying that havana capitol was bigger than Washington capitolio. Figures are also impressive, since the building cost nearly 17 million pesos, a very high amount of money at the time, and 8,000 specialized workers took part in its construction.
    Regarding construction materials, five million bricks, 38,000 cubic meters of sand, 40,000 cubic meters of rocks, 150,000 bags of cement, 3,500 tons of structural steel and 2,000 tons of iron bars were used in the works.

    It is precisely this condition which attracts the attention of both Cubans and foreigners, also interested in posing in front of old cameras, one century old, true photographic relics on their tripods, which allow them to perpetuate in an image the memory of a building of monumental architecture. Artists of photography proliferate around the building, ready to meet the demands of passersby, and to manipulate, in a very professional way, their cameras, which bear the imprint left by the passage of several decades.

    The Capitol houses treasures such as the statue that represents the Republic, which was made by Italian artist Angelo Zanelli and is considered the world's third largest sculpture indoors.

    The building has played its role in Cuba's history, since its halls hosted the Constituent Assembly and witnessed the enactment of the Constitution in 1940.

    After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, the Capitol became the headquarters of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, first, and of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), later.

    Among the activities held in the spacious halls of the Capitol are meetings, exhibitions, solemn acts and business events, and the personnel working there is embarked in spreading the historic and architectonic heritage of the building.

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    A bit worn out...

    by hojasdehierba Updated Feb 23, 2006

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    I have not been in Washingtown D.C., but Havana's Capitolio is said to be an almost perfect imitation of the original. I guess that the one in Washingtown must look a bit "newer" than this one: it needs a good maintenance work, for sure. It was opened at General Machado´s dictatorship, in 1929 and it was government house until 1959 (Cuban Revolution). Even now, there are some government offices there.

    No he estado en Washingtown D.C., pero dicen que el Capitolio de La Habana es una imitación casi perfecta del original. Supongo, sin embargo, que el Washingtown debe tener un aspecto mas "nuevo" que este: necesita una buena mano de pintura, eso seguro. Se inauguro durante la dictadura del General Machado, en 1929, y fue la sede del gobierno cubano hasta 1959 (Revolucion Cubana). Incluso hora, hay oficinas gubernamentales alli.

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    El Capitolio

    by Jefie Written Feb 4, 2006

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    El Capitolio de La Habana
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    Modeled after the Washington Capitol, Havana's Capitolio was inaugurated in 1929 and was the home of the Cuban government's House of Commons and Senate until the 1959 Revolution. The top floors have since been converted into offices but the main floor is opened to visitors. There isn't much left to see in the rooms but their grandeur and richly decorated ceilings make it very easy to imagine what the Capitolio must have been like a few decades ago. Truly worth the 3 CUC we paid for checking it out.

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    The Dome

    by hojasdehierba Updated Feb 23, 2006

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    The Dome is 92 meters height and, until the fifties, it was the highest building in La Habana. It is nicely decorated on the inside. The opening times for El Capitolio are from 8,30 to 17,00 everyday.
    La cupula tiene 92 metros de altura y, hasta los anhos cincuenta, fue el punto mas alto de La Habana. Tiene una hermosa decoracion en su interior. El horario de apertura para el Capitolio es de 8,30 a 17.00 todos los dias.

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    EL CAPITOLIO

    by LoriPori Written Nov 25, 2007

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    El Capitolio
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    Resembling Washington D.C.'s Capital Building, EL CAPITOLIO is located on Paseo de Marti, across from Central Park. It was the last stop on our tour.
    Built in 1929, El Capitolio features a wide stone staircase which leads to the main entrance. Two bronze statues flank each side of the top of the staircase - one dedicated to labour and one to virtue.
    Entrance fee was 3 CUC

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    Some Extra Tips for the Capitolio

    by joernme Written Apr 19, 2004

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    1. Wait for rain and watch the kids slide down the long and steeply descending walls along the stairs up to the Capitolio.

    2. Take a seat in the cafý of the Capitolio. You get good tea and coffee, nice atmosphere and most importantly have a great view over the big square in front of the capitolio. Also every once in a while at least I needed a rest from being approached all the time ý you can sit back and relax for a moment without being talked to, also nice after a day in the city, believe me.

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    Visit the Capitolio

    by joernme Written Apr 19, 2004

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    One of the main sites. Buy a ticket and go inside, it?s worth it. The contrast between inside and outside life is almost shocking, especially if you go outside again to enter the ?real world?. You can even enter the parliaments session rooms and take your seat on the seat of ?El Comandante?. Nobody really looks where you are going so you can sneak behind many doors or catch a glimpse where you probably were not supposed to.

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    Impossible to miss it

    by xaver Written May 27, 2008

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    Capitolio
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    El capitolio nacional located in the heart of the centre of Havana is the most important building of Paseo de Marti which is the road that leads from the Capitolio itself to the Castill de la Punta.
    It has been built in 1929 during the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado and at a first sight it may appear similar to the one in Washington.
    Its dome shaped roof is 30 meters high and you really can notice it from almost everywhere in the centre of the town.
    Inside you have museums and internet connection but it's closed on sunday.

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  • aramat's Profile Photo

    Capitol

    by aramat Updated Sep 8, 2003

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    Capitol

    The Capitol is a very impressive building, a replica of the Capitol in Washington DC, built between 1926-1929. It was the home of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate of the Republic. As having such a representation seemed unnecessary after the revolution, since 1959 it houses the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. It is open for tourists - we could walk around on our own, but the chambers were closed, had to opened by a guide (expecting a tip, of course). Several little painting exhibitions were shown in the building, with paintings for sale (I bought a nice "ecological" painting of Old Havana by Ernesto Gonzales).

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    Inside El Capitolio

    by mim95 Written Aug 7, 2004

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    The impressive interior of El Capitolio

    You'll be truly amazed by the grandness of its interior right after you enter the building. First, you'll see the statue of La Republica, a 11m tall bronze woman statue holding a lance and shield. It is the third largest indoor statue in the world.

    Directly below the dome, a diamond (fake) is put on the floor, which marks as km zero for highway distance purposes. The original diamond is said to be kept with Castro.

    The dome divided the Salon de los Pasos Perdidos (Room of the Lost Steps) in half. This 120m long impressive room has marble floor, shiny copper lamp posts, decorated arched ceilings, green marble columns, French doors that open to balconies with a view of the courtyard below.

    There is an admission, which is well worth it. You can also join a guided tour. I think it is also worth it as the guide take you inside some of the locked rooms.

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    Visiting Central Park Area - El Capitolio

    by Luchonda Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Cuba's Capitol

    Visiting this area is unavoidable when you visit Cuba
    It is the center of Old Havana and a copy of the Washington Capitol
    Nice to see the olden goldies in front - taxi's and old glory of the American period.There are many local bars in this area !

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    The Cuban Capitol

    by Luchonda Updated Jan 8, 2004

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    The Cuban Capitolio

    Plaza Central - the Capitol - worth to visit.
    Inaugurated in 1929 by dictator Gerardo Machado - a copy of the Capitol in DC Washington - builded in 3 years time for a unreasonable cost.
    You will find a huge library of Cuban History
    and a scenery of the Parlement.
    And behind this monument you will find (The real fabricia de tabacos Partagas)- an elegant red and cream colored building !

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  • El Capitolio

    by elgarbo Written Oct 6, 2005

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    If you need a half hours worth of distraction, check out the Capitol building. There's a great deal of trivia attached to this grand old structure, although much of it is lost to me. However, I DO remember that it is of similar design to its American counterpart, albeit a few metres taller. Furthermore, it houses one of the largest (if not the largest) indoor statue in the world.

    We turned up just after it had closed, which was unfortunate, although the lady at the door was kind enough to let us poke our heads in and get an idea of the grand scale of it all. The statue truly is massive.

    Sitting on the front steps, you're bound to see a whole bunch of wonderful facets of Cuban life unfold before your eyes. People getting married, kids running around like crazy, teenagers playing baseball, people selling cigars or newspapers, others just going about their daily business.

    It's not much of a walk from Habana Vieja, if that's where you're located. Otherwise, a taxi will get you there. Also in the vicinity are some cigar factories, the museum of the Revolution and the Museum of Fine Arts, which can probably all be done in a single day while you're there.

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    any resemblance?

    by cochinjew Written Sep 1, 2006

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    the resemblance is obvious
    1 more image

    Marked as Mile Zero from which all the distances in Cuba are measured, Capitolio modelled after its more famous cousin to the north, another gift of the dictator Machado, I think.
    There is a museum, an internet place and an ornate lobby. a very popular place with tourists.
    thus it has become a tourist trap.
    Grandmotherly types bring cutely dressed little ones along with them, who approach the tourists and offer them one peso bags of mani/peanuts and the tourists unsuspectingly takes them and they are begged for a dollar in returned, you feel sorry for the dolled up little girl and give the money. A fool who was dressed as a fool was pretending to take pictures with a wooden camera and then begging for a dollar.
    There are no beggars but there are different ingenious ways of begging.

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    Capitolio National

    by mim95 Updated Aug 7, 2004

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    The front of El Capitolio

    The Capitolio looked similar to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. It was finished in 1929 and has been the home of Cuban's congress until 1959. At the base of the building in the front, a wide stone staircase lead to the main entrance, with a bronze statue on each side at the top of the staircase. They are the statues of Labour and Virtue. The huge bronze doors at the main entrance were etched with Cuban's history. The center of the building at the front is topped with a neoclassical dome, which is visible from miles away at the height of 62m.

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