El Capitolio Nacional

In Central Havana
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El Capitolio Nacional

One might say that the Capitolio Nacional, Havana’s most singular, outstanding and historic building might present visual similarities to the Washington, DC Capitol Building. However, not only does it differ in size, but it has been enriched with infinite details throughout the time of its construction in 1926, by Cuba’s dictator Gerardo Machado, too. After the total investment of US$17 million, with the helping hands of 5000 workers throughout the course of three years, the construction was completed. The building has, since then, played various roles for the Cuban and international society: what once used to be the seat of the Cuban Congress, now houses the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Science and Technology – since 1959. Its base is made of white Capellanía limestone and block granite, with six rounded columns leading up to the opulent entrance along the staircase. The 62m stone cupola is visible in Havana’s skyline and can be spotted from the rooftop of the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, which is topped with a 16th-century replica of Florentine sculptor Giambologna's bronze statue of Mercury in the Palazzo de Bargello. One of the most important details is probably the copy of the 24-carat diamond set in the floor directly below the cupola, guarded by the statue of the republic: a gigantic bronze woman standing 11m tall – a symbol to the mythic Guardian of Virtue and Work.

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