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Capitol in Havana

A symbol of the city, the Capitol (Capitolio) combines the elegance of Neo-Classicism with Art Deco elements. Inaugurated in 1929 by the dictator Gerardo Machado, it is loose imitation of the Washington DC Capitol, but is even taller.

It stands in the area once occupied by a botanical garden and later by the capital's first railway station.

The home of governement until 1959, the Capitol has seen major historic events: in 1933 the police fired on a crowd gathered here during an anti-Machado demonstration. Today the building houses the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, but is open for tours, which include the former government chambers and the magnificent library.

A copy of 25-carat diamond is embedded in the floor beneath the dome. The original belonged to the last Tsar of Russia and was sold to the Cuban state by a Turkish jeweller. It was stolen and, mysteriously, later delivered to the President.