The Capitol Building is, without a doubt, one of the most distinguished buildings in Havana, not just due to its monumental character, but also to its singular features, which make it one of the most representative buildings of its type in the word. The eclectic style in which it is built is typical of the mixture of styles which characterises the peoples of the Caribbean region.
Even before the site had been properly cleaned up after its construction, the Capitol was an obligatory visit for all visitors to the island, and since then it has been customary for all tourists coming to Cuba to have their photo taken with the great building in the background as proof of their stay in Havana.
The monumental work which is the Capitol was built during the second half of the 1920s. The building was inaugurated on May the 20th, 1929 to commemorate the establishment of the republic in Cuba. The whole process took 3 years because the building was erected over the foundations of the former railways station “Villanueva”. It was conceived as the seat of the Congress and the Senate and the American company Purdy and Henderson fulfil the construction project.
The façade shows a prevailing of the neoclassical style while the inner decoration is mainly an opulent eclectic style but without loosing the balance. The 90 m. high dome is a visible from all the ends of the city. The bronzed statues standing at each side of the main entry were done by the Italian Angelo Zanelli and they represent the work and progress and the Tutelar Virtue of the Cuban people. The main entry has 3 doors as well as 3 were also the regions in which the island was divided, each one exhibit part of the Cuban history. From rightwards: the first one it’s devoted to the conquer period, the second one to the XIX century independence wars and the third one to the republics. The statue inside the Capitol was also made by Angelo Zanelli and represents the Republics. It’s the 3rd world highest statue under roof with 17.5 m high and 30 tons of weight, totally covered with golden sheets. It’s placed in the center of the main hall “The Room of Lost Steps” originally conceived for the official ceremonies. This 48 m long and 15 m wide hall it’s covered by different kinds of marble and at its center lays a replica of the 44 carats diamond that pointed the start of the Central Highway. Nowadays the building is the seat of the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry.
The ground floor, which contains most of the important art works in the building, is open to the public, and the rooms where Chambers carried out their work are now used for conventions. Restaurant and bar services are available to visitors in the loggias, who can pause there to rest during their tour of the city and the Capitol itself.
The other floors are occupied by the offices of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, whose mission includes the task of promoting and conserving this building and the heritage contained in it.