El Capitolio Nacional in Havana – Cuba

El Capitolio Nacional is simply the National Capitol Building. It stands in Havana, the capital city of Cuba.

Location and How to Get There

El Capitolio Nacional is a notable landmark in Havana. It stands tremendously tall, serving as the main feature of the city’s skyline. It is located right at the heart of the city so getting there should not be a problem to any visiting tourist. You can either use the local bus service, a car rental, or a cab to get to El Capitolio Nacional.

What to See There

The most amazing thing about El Capitolio Nacional is its neo-classic architecture. Like many Cuban landmarks, it is well restored and well maintained. You will never find a trace of its age on the entire structure.

Looking at it, one might have an impression that the capitol building is greatly inspired by the U.S. Capitol. The architects Raul Otero and Eugenio Raynieri, however, refuse to claim that. They are firm their inspiration for the building is taken from Paris’s the Pantheon.

Aside from the building itself, the gardens surrounding its majesty are also sights to behold. They are laid out by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, a French architect and designer who is an expert in landscapes.


The El Capitolio Nacional was built in 1920s, commissioned by Cuban dictator Gerardo Merchado. The construction was completed three years after it was started. The area where the capitol is standing at present was previously a swamp. It was also previously used as a dwelling place for slaves. It was also used as the site for Cuba’s first-ever botanical garden.

Two years after construction was completed, El Capitolio Nacional was used as the seat of government until the 1950s. The following decade, it served as the home to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment.

Today, the main floor of the building is opened for visiting locals and tourists while the other rooms are used for meetings and conferences.


Traveling to El Capitolio Nacional does not cost much. But every money spent is worth it as your eyes will be treated to a spectacular architecture of old.

Other Info

There are many interesting things about the El Capitolio Nacional. One of them is the intricate art that can be seen at the building’s interiors. Believe it or not, while the construction of the whole structure took only three years and 50 days, the interior design took another two years to be completed. That’s how much time and effort is spent to create the majestic building that serves as a major tourist draw of today.