Robaina's plantation

Monday 31 August 2015

Lonja del Comercio (Chamber of Commerce) Havana

                   The building sits majestically at one end of the Plaza San Francisco and was once used as the stock exchange. Today it's an office building housing local and foreign companies, news agencies...the BBC & AP, as well as the Habana Radio Station, the Brazilian Embassy and foreign companies with joint ventures in Cuba. I don't think anyone is allowed to go up top but this is Cuba and almost everything is up for negotiation, at least anything this trivial. You can definitely walk around the atrium, especially since that's where you'll find the restrooms for the café-restaurant El Mecurio on the ground floor. I've had a light meal here in the past and remember it being typical of the state-run establishments...the patio has a great view of the Plaza. The name comes from the bronze statue of Mercury, the Greek god of trade, that sits atop the building. What a fitting ornament adorning the place where commodities were once traded. The views from the roof are stunning and I'm glad I finally decided to ask if I could go up.
                   Construction on the building began in 1907 and was opened in March of 1909. The building originally had 5 floors, an additional floor was added later. It acted as the stock exchange up until 1959 when the revolution took over after which it was used as offices. The building suffered from neglect, as with many others in Havana, until renovations beginning in March 1995. It reopened on July 31, 1996, preserving much of the original. Some structural changes had to be made to bring the building up to speed with technological upgrades to services such as water, electrical and fire prevention...  There isn't much more I could find on the internet, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

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