The National Capitol of Cuba is located in Havana. Until the revolution and in 1959, it was the seat of the Cuban government and today it is the seat of the Academy of Sciences. Its name and appearance refer to the U.S. Capitol, but the similarities are actually only superficial. Until 1950, it was known as the tallest building in the city and its fame is linked to the fact that it houses the third largest indoor statue in the world.
The first unsuccessful attempt to erect this public building was made in 1925 by the regime of Gerardo Machado. A year later, on April 1, 1926, the American company Purdy and Henderson began construction of the capitol’s foundations, which was completed in a record time of no more than three years and 50 days. It took 8,000 workers working eight hours a day to build it. The result is a remarkable neoclassical structure with a dome similar to that of the Pantheon in Paris. Around it, the garden designed by French architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier grows and gives a pleasant aura to the whole project.
Inside the main hall and just below the dome, the statue of the Republic, sculpted by Zanelli, dominates the interior of the main hall. It is 15 meters high, weighs 49 tons and is covered with 22 carat gold. The parliament hall, the president’s office and the other rooms are distinguished by their refined neoclassical decoration and marble ornamentation. In general, European influences are visible, but there are certainly elements throughout the building that express local artistic styles.