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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: The Rebirth of History

The Cuban capital, the main city in the Caribbean island and recognized for its patrimonial values that are nearly 500 years old, holds elements that are representative of social life, including the Capitol.

For those who come every day to the Historic Hear of San Cristóbal de La Habana, access is now available to a complex that is considered the second tallest point in the city.

An extensive rehabilitation program aims to revive the historic elements, as the building ranks among the six most important palaces worldwide.

History registers the ups and downs of its construction, carried out for three and a half years from April 1, 1926, to 1929, with the aim of installing the legislature of the government at the time.

Statistics are also impressive, as its construction cost about 17 million pesos, a huge amount at the time, and involved more than 8,000 skilled workers.

In material terms, five million bricks, 38,000 cubic meters of sand, 40,000 stones, 150,000 bags of cement, 3,500 500 tons of structural steel and 2,000 iron bars, really impressive quantities, were used.

Capitolio. Dome.
Detail of the ceiling.
Capitolio. Front view.

The Capellanía stones to build the walls of the Capitol were extracted in Cuba, while Italy and Germany contributed 60 types of marble for the floors, stairs and other elements.

Most of the rehabilitation works consist of repairing and polishing of statues, lamps, elevators and bronze doors, as well as electrical and plumbing systems, cleaning of façade with sand under pressure, interior painting and structural repairs in the dome.

Work also includes the installation of new pipes for services and computing, security, fire alarms, fiber optic cables, as well as air conditioning systems in offices.

Among the Capitol's treasures is the statue that symbolizes The Republic, which was sculpted by the Italian artist Angelo Zanelli and is considered the third largest indoor sculpture in the world.

In addition, Zanelli created two other sculptures that are located on both sides of the entrance, and represent The People's Tutelage Virtue and The Work.

The majesty of the Hall of Lost Steps stands out in the Capitol, with its 120 meters in length and an enormous dome. The Yara Hall holds beautiful pieces of the original tableware.

Meanwhile, the Jimaguayú Hall has other sculptures created by Zanelli, and the Baraguá Hall was intended to hold meetings, as well as the José Martí Library.

In the crypt that keeps the remains of the unknown mambí (Cuban fighters for independence against Spain), visitors can see the flags of all the nations of the American continent, the sculpture of La Patria (The Homeland), the score of the Anthem of Bayamo and the coat of arms of the nation.

The design of the National Capitol was inspired by its peer in the United States, with a neoclassical columned façade and a 91-meter-high dome, which was built to accommodate the two houses of the Congress of the Republic.

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