The development of Cuba's tourism sector, a key element in the country's economic growth, is based on unique natural, historic and cultural treasures.
Hundreds of kilometers of excellent beaches, pristine environment and memories that date back centuries ago make up a unique offer in which cultural tourism has gained ground due to the existence of a broad network of museums.
One of those cultural institutions is the Havana-based National Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1913 and which had its own venue in 1954 when a building then known as the Palace of Fine Arts was constructed.
The edifice, which replaced the old Mercado de Colón (Columbus' Market), benefited recently from a thorough remodeling project that added two other buildings to the museum.
The museum's patrimony consists of 47,600 artworks, including 45,000 pieces that were designated national heritage and more than 2,000 that are preserved as a deposit and back up the work of the institution.
The Palace of Fine Arts treasures the Cuban art collections, which consist of more than 1,200 paintings, sculptures, engravings and drawings that are on display in an area of 7,600 square meters.
Divided into four blocks - Colonial Art, Turn of the Century, Modern Art and Contemporary Art -, the exhibit shows visitors to the museum the historic evolution of Cuban visual arts, from the first views of travelers in the 16th and 17th centuries to artworks by contemporary artists.
The colonial period and the early 20th century, avant-gardism, abstractionism, and the emergence of new generations in the 1970s are the movements that stand out in the museum.
In addition, the collections of Universal Art are kept in the building that used to house the Asturian Center of Havana, which is considered an outstanding exponent of Spanish eclectic architecture.
Experts say that the museum keeps more than 650 artworks from ancient times, although European paintings have a special place in the museum, including pieces from French and Flemish renaissance, Spanish baroque, and French 19th-century and British 18-century paintings.
Our continent is also represented in the museum, with artworks from colonial Latin America and the 18th- and 19th-century United States, creating a very attractive option for culture lovers.
The Museum of Fine Arts also offers visitors the chance to buy reproductions, serigraphs, books, catalogs and postcards, as souvenirs of an unforgettable stay in contact with history and culture.