Table of Contents
Remarkable symbol of the Havana City and one of the great constructions of Cuba, the National Capitol is admired by both: Cuban as foreigners.
The Cuban State acquired the lands of the old station of Villanueva and it intended initially to build there a presidential palace. On August 7th, 1911 a project was approved that would have 100 front meters for 70 of bottom and its budget reached the figure of 1 million 200 thousand pesos.
The works of the National Capitol of Cuba began, but on July of 1914 the new president Mario García Menocal repealed the previous dispositions and it prepared the construction of the Palacio of the Congresses in this lands. Then the adaptation of what was built was charged to the Cuban architects Felix Cabarrocas and Mario Romañach as well as the culmination of the work. Cabarrocas took as paradigm a building of French Renaissance style, transforming the original project completely. Also he added two hemicycles, one for the Camera of Representatives of the Republic of Cuba and another for the Senate. The new project covered a surface of 140 front meters for 75 of bottom.
The works continued without interruption until April of 1919, when Menocal paralyzed them again as consequence of the increase of its cost: the adaptations had forced to eliminate almost half of what was built, and this made the work more expensive.
In 1921, the works were quite advanced, but the president’s Alfredo Zayas ordinance again paralyzed the works. The serious economic crisis of the country prohibited the continuation. The land was leased to a particular company so that it installed a park of amusements there. With the time all the instruments of the contractors disappeared and what was built was deteriorating.
The doctor Carlos Miguel of Cespedes, secretary of Public Works gave a new project to the Cuban architects Evelio Govantes and Felix Cabarrocas. When taking the project of the Capitol new changes they were introduced, the most significant was that of the dome that became more slender and more monumental. The demolition of the already existent was executed in 35 months. The work was restarted the first of April of 1926, in a land of more than 43 thousand square meters.
The brass lamps, the capitals and the columns of the Hall of the Lost Steps were taken charge to Sunnier Duval Frisquet, of London. The lamps of the living room of the Presidency of the Senate and those of forty bulbs of the Camera of Representatives, all of laminate brass with old gold and golden glasses with gold to the mercury, were made in the Societé Anonime Bague, of Paris. The marbles that adorn the Hall of the Lost Steps, the Senate and the stairways of honor are of sixty different qualities. With them 8 thousand square meters of floors, 2 thousand of stairways were covered and thousand of baseboards, as well as 300 cubic meters of onyx. All the marbles were brought of Italy.
In the hall of conferences of the Senate there is a baseboard of green marble of the Alps, with forfeits of golden onyx of Morocco. The pilasters are made of marble rusty golden cipollino. The ironworks were taken charge to the Yale of Standford, in Connecticut, United States that also made the locks of style Italian rebirth of the main plant. The offices of the secretaries of the Camera of Representatives and the Senate have Jorge V style, and those of the Camera are Empire style. All are of brass fused with finish of old brass.
Description of the National Capitol of Cuba
A wide granite perron, with 55 steps, 36 meters wide and 16 of high, drive to the piazza of the building. To both sides of the end of the stairway two impressive sculptural groups of brass appear with granite pedestal, of the Italian Angelo Zanelli, a masculine one and the other one feminine, they have a height 6,70 meters and they represent the first one the progress of the human activity and the second the guardian virtue of the town.
The National Capitol of Cuba and its Dome
Its elegance makes it able to be recognized from diverse points of Havana, its height reaches the 91,73 meters. It stands out in the dome the shields of the old six Cuban counties, while at the end of each one of the rooms are the access
25 Carat Diamond
In its center there is the brilliant of 25 kilates, directly low the central needle of the dome, fixing the starting point of the whole system of highways of the country, and also like dividing place between the Camera and the Senate.
Statue of the Republic: Hostess of the National Capitol of Cuba
The base of the statue that symbolizes the Republic is made of old Egyptian onyx. The solid block, of very strange cave formation, weighs 300 quintals. In their niche the Statue of the Republic is appreciated, with a weight 30 tons and a total height 14,60 meters. It is the figure of a young woman standing, dressed with a tunic, with helmet, shield and spear, sculpted by Angelo Zanelli. It is indoors the third greatest statue in the world in size, overcome alone for the Buddha of Gold of Dale, Japan and that of Abraham Lincoln in the mausoleum erected in their honor in Washington.