El Capitolio (National Capitol Building)

Visitors to Havana who have visited Washington, D.C. may be taken aback when they see the stunning El Capitolio, which was built in 1929. This majestic structure, rising from the city skyline, is reminiscent of the American Capitol building, but its distinctive cupola is said to have been influenced by the Panthéon in Paris.

The structure, which combines neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles, served as the seat of government until 1959, when it was demolished during the Cuban Revolution.

You can enjoy a guided tour of the recently renovated structure for a modest price, with headphones in the language of your choosing available. The spacious passageways, gorgeous inlaid marble flooring, and huge dome are all highlights.

A reproduction of the bronze sculpture Mercury, made by the Florentine sculptor Giambologna in the 16th century, sits atop the dome. A copy of a 24-carat diamond can be found beneath the dome. This is said to be the starting point for all highway distances between Havana and other Cuban destinations.

El Capitolio is still a stunning landmark for visitors to Havana; its massive dome can be seen from practically anywhere in the city.

Address: Havana, Paseo de Marti (Prado)