Resembling the U.S. Capitol Building to some degree, the Capitolio Nacional Cuba (Cuba Capitol Building), is one of the city's signature edifices. Only, interestingly enough, the Capitolio Nacional is actually larger, and more ornate at that. Also curious, is the fact that one of the building's main architects, Eugenio Raynieri, claimed that the Panthéon in Paris was his inspiration for the cupola of the Capitolio Nacional. Found on Calle Prado, which basically forms the border of Old Havana (Habana Vieja), this Central Havana (Centro Habana) attraction certainly begs a visit.
I's dome can be seen rising from many a vantage point, and should you stay at one of the nicer Havana hotels located in the area, you might enjoy rooftop views with the Capitolio Nacional Cuba in plain view. A nice idea for things to do in Havana is couple a visit to the Capitol Building with a stroll along Central Havana's stretch of the Malecon, which is of particular interest.
Capital City of Cuba, Havana is certainly where most of the Cuban government runs its affairs. The neo-classical Capitolio Nacional Cuba building, was originally the seat of the Cuban Congress, however, these days, it is home to Cuba's National Library of Science and Technology, as well as its Academy of Science. Built where a swamp once stood, El Capitolio Nacional also rests where an original capitol building never came to fruition.
In fact, the site of the great building had many purposes prior to its present one. After the Villanueva train station was traded for a new one located away from the area, proposals for a house for the Cuban legislature prompted work to begin in 1917. Thanks to World War I, however, this structure was never completed, falling victim to an explosion one year later. Gerardo Machado, who was the Cuban dictator in the year 1925, used his U.S.-backed power to initiate the construction of a new building on the spot. In 1926, work began on the Capitolio Nacional Cuba. The aforementioned Raynieri teamed with fellow architect Raúl Otero to come up with a new design, and in just little more than three years' time, it was finished.
The rising stone cupola of this capital of Cuba icon has a steel frame to support it which was actually made in the United States. This impressive dome tops out at nearly 300 feet, which made it the tallest building in Havana, until the 1950s arrival of the José Martí Memorial, which can be found in the district of Vedado. Made mostly from limestone and granite, the steep front steps are a bit of a climb, and at the top, you will find a series of Doric columns and the main entrance. Exquisite, marble-laden floors are found inside the Capitolio Nacional, and when in the capital city of Cuba, it's worth taking a tour of what you can access. It doesn't cost much, and you can also grab a bite at the restaurant there, check your email at the internet café, or peruse one of the building's art and craft galleries.
Outside, beautiful European-style gardens help give the Capitolio Nacional some added curb appeal, but perhaps the most interesting Capitolio feature, is the large Statue of the Republic that sits indoors under the cupola dome. Some 50 feet tall, it is one of the world's largest statues. Also, since it is covered in gold-leaf, this lofty Angelo Zanelli creation, which depicts a Roman Goddess, is quite a sight. On top of the dome back outside, the bronze statue you will see is Mercury. Looking over the capital of Cuba, he has quite a view.