El Capitolio, or the National Capitol Building, is the former seat of government and the most famous landmark in Cuba. Located in Havana, it was completed in 1929 and was the city's tallest building until the 1950s.
Take Your Time To Admire This Historical Building
1. The Architecture
After getting your National Capitol Building tickets and passes, it's time to admire its beautiful building. Appreciate its beautiful architecture, which took over 3 years to complete and called upon the efforts of over 5,000 workers. Spot the work of acclaimed artists and retrace the footsteps of government officials and presidents. Take a moment to appreciate the striking façade. It features a grand staircase guarded by six 14-meter high Doric columns. Running either side of the entrance is an arcade fronted by rows of columns. These sure are an interesting thing to see during your National Capitol Building tour.
2. The Statues
The first thing you'll go after getting the National Capitol Building tickets and passes is the entrance. Two giant bronze statues by the Italian artist Angel Zanelli flank the entrance. One is a woman symbolizing a guardian of the people, and the other, a man representing work and progress. Zanelli contributed a third bronze statue, La República (“The Republic”), which was inspired by the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. La República, the third largest indoor statue in the world, towers over visitors directly beneath the capitol dome.
3. The Diamond
At the foot of the statue sits one of the building's most fascinating features – a replica of a 25-carat diamond that belonged to Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, encased in the floor. The original diamond once sat in its place but was stolen in 1946. After it was recovered a few months later, it was locked in a safe at the Central Bank and replaced with the replica. Similarly to the Crypt in the U.S. Capitol that marks what was once the center of Washington, the diamond at the foot of La República was placed to mark Kilometer Zero of Cuba's central highway. You can't miss this spot on your National Capitol Building tour.
How to Get Tickets?
There is a small admission fee to enter the building. You can get the National Capitol Building tickets and passes at the ticket office when you arrive. The ticket price is 3 CUC without guide and 4 CUC with guide.
How To Get Around?
The building sits at the southern end of Paseo de Martí, in the neighborhood of Central Havana. Nearby attractions include the Gran Teatro de la Habana and the bustling Chinatown district. You can get around by walking or cycling, it's a beautiful neighborhood that you will surely enjoy after the National Capitol Building tour.
What Should I Wear?
Best Time to Visit
National Capitol Building tickets and passes can be purchased at any time of the year. The building opens at 9am to 8pm and it gets crowded after lunchtime. If you want to do the National Capitol Building tour when the building is not packed with tourists, then go early in the morning or in the evening after 6pm.
Will I Need a Guide?
You will not need a help of a tour guide to explore the building. Everything you need to know before visiting National Capitol Building can be found on this website. However, if you want to know more about the building, you can get a guide when purchasing the National Capitol Building tickets and passes.
How To Get There?
The building is located in the neighborhood of Central Havana, which is a strategic area where all the public transport have access to. As a tourist, the most convenient way of getting to National Capitol Building is by taxi. You should agree on a price before taking one. There are also local buses in the city, going on various routes. Your best bet is to tell your casa or hotel where you want to go and they'll point you in the direction of which bus to take, and where to catch it.
Access to the interior may be restricted because of ongoing restoration work. You are allowed to take pictures in the building but be careful not to break anything.