Robaina's plantation

Thursday 12 December 2019

Palacio del Segundo Cabo (Plaza de Armas) Havana

                 This building is situated on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Armas. It's next to the Castillo de la Real Fuerza on the one side and faces the Palacio De Los Capitanes Generales on the other. It was closed off and under renovations for some time with restorations on the Palace beginning in 2009. With help from the European Union and the direct intervention of UNESCO, the inauguration finally took place on May 9, 2017, after 8 years of outstanding work.
                The building is an example of Cuban Baroque style with Neoclassical elements containing six different styles of archways giving the building a faintly Moorish feel. The majestic entrance and a hallway gives way to an Andalusian patio. Its interior is occupied by large spaces for offices and halls of ceremonies similar to those that can be seen in other colonial buildings.
                The original construction of the building began in 1772 at the request of the Marquis de la Torre, with the work being completed in 1791. The designs where drawn up by the Cuban engineer and architect, Antonio Fernández de Trebejos y Zaldívar. The Marques was so impressed that he ordered Antonio to build the magnificent Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. The structure was originally built to house the headquarters of the General Post Office of Cuba, making Havana the center of all postal communication between Europe and the American colonies. In (1820) it became, briefly, the army quartermaster’s headquarters, accounting office and treasury. Later on, it was to successively become the office of the Second Corporal Inspector General (1854) (Palacio del Segundo Cabo....from which it takes its name), the seat of the Senate (1902), the Supreme Court and the seat of the Academies of History, of the Spanish Language, of Arts and Letters, the National Council of Culture, and finally becoming the Cuban Book Institute (Instituto Cubano del Libro...a state-run institution that promotes literature) until 2009. Successive transformations, changes in its use and a prolonged lack of maintenance, brought about the severe deterioration of the Palace and its structure.
               It was slated to reopen as an avant-garde cultural center, housing the Interpretation Center for Cultural Exchanges between Cuba and Europe. At the same time, it is an interactive museum where the public can participate with modern media devices to attain information about Cuba and Europe’s interwoven history over the years.
             It's spread over two floors with interconnecting rooms that include a timeline tunnel. Within the various rooms you'll find cube-activated screens broadcasting different elements of Cuba’s history, an interactive timeline of Cuban-European musical forms, a comparative study of the architectural development of Havana and Barcelona and the Sala del Libro which houses the cultural values ​​of the Cuban bibliographic heritage and its historical evolution linked to Europe (no paper, only in digital form accessed from 4 touchscreens).
             This is one of the best museums in the city in my opinion and definitely worth the price of admission. I would recommend coming here when you have time because if you visit all the areas and take a little time to participate and do a little reading, this visit could easily take you more than an hour. It's a little pricier than all the other museums but as I said, well worth it.

Palacio del Segundo Cabo
O'Reilly no.4     (7) 801-7176
Hours: Tues-Sat. 9:30am-5pm, Sunday 9:30am-1:00pm
Price   CUC$10

Time Tunnel

Assembly Hall

Book Room

Music Room

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