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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuban Museums: Guardians of the Heritage

Cuba's historic heritage, accumulated for centuries, finds a safe haven in a wide network of museums throughout the country aimed at preserving the legacy of past times.

This network includes nearly 290 facilities of different designs and contents, 14 of which are classified as museums of art, seven are devoted to science and technology, five are museums of ethnography and anthropology, and 68 deal with history.

Nine other museums are classified as specialized, 164 deal with general topics and four are museums of archeology. All of them pursue a common objective: to translate the teachings of old times into Cuba's new reality.

The main area in the country for this activity is, undoubtedly, the capital, with a wide variety of museums that meet the most dissimilar demands. Many of these facilities are unique in the country.

Particularly interesting are the traditions and evolution of money in Cuba, shown by more than 100,000 pieces exhibited at Havana's Numismatic Museum.

Medals, decorations, paper money, bonds, lottery bills, numismatic documents, even counterfeit money detected in the country, are among the heritage of this museum, classified by periods of Cuba's history: the colony, the republic in arms, the pseudo-republic and after 1959.

A building constructed in 1791 and known as the Palace of the Captain Generals - venue of the Spanish colonial administration for more than 100 years - houses the Museum of the City.

This baroque building treasures objects that provide visitors with a panoramic view of the city since it was founded as San Cristobal de la Habana to the present, as well as various halls devoted to the Cuban wars for national independence.

Memories are also present at the Museum of Colonial Art, located on the Cathedral Square - the best preserved site in Old Havana - and built in 1720 with the sumptuous style of the 18th century.

The spacious halls of the Museum of Colonial Art exhibit a representative collection of decorative objects and furniture of Havana's big mansions of colonial times, all of them decorated with beautiful stained-glass windows.

For visitors from countries where the population is predominantly Muslim, the city offers the attractive House of the Arabs, where believers even have a hall to say their prayers.

The museum, whose building is a clear example of the Arabic influence that Cuban architecture received from Spanish artists, also has an excellent exhibition of gold- and silver-plated weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Many buildings of the Cuban capital are evident exponents of the baroque style on the island. A clear example of this are the Convent and Church of San Francis of Assisi.

Old cars, silent witnesses of past times, form part of the tour through the history of traditional products in Cuba, including rum and cigars, all of them mixed in a combination to satisfy the curiosity of visitors.

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