Museo de Arte Colonial

Museum / Cultural center
Architectural style: Baroque
San Ignacio #61, e/ Empedrado y O’Reilly, Habana Vieja
  • On the southern side of the Plaza de la Catedral, exactly opposite the church, stands one mansion that definitely was left porchless. Perhaps this is why it seems older than its neighbours. This 17th-century building underwent successive reconstructions which altered its exterior to a great extent. The following century, it became the property of José Bayona y Chacón, the first Count of the House of Bayona who had to settle differences with the Marquis of Arcos who had closed the alley adjacent to the house because the passers-by bothered him, although this action was an infringement of the regulations in force, by which all plazas should have four exits. The court ruled in favour of the Marquis but gave the Count permission to build a porch, although this never came to fruition. The house of the Count of Bayona has a large inner courtyard surrounded by galleries, and a backyard. The panelled ceilings have elaborate carved designs made by the best master carpenters in the city. It is today the Museo de Arte Colonial with a wide collection of colonial art, including furniture, glasswork and porcelain.

    Valuable representative pieces are exhibited here: 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century furniture; table linen and fans; colonial architectural elements, including wrought-iron grilles and railings, street lamps and lanterns, doorknockers (some of which are great examples of African-influenced art), doors (mainly used during the 19th-century in Neoclassical constructions), stone and marble sculptures for facades, and especially, the multicolored glasswork with stained-glass windows, inner doors, screens and ornamental partitions. Additionally, its collection includes 18th- and 19th-century glassware and dinner services used by aristocratic Cuban families in colonial times. Their diversity in style and design is a sign of the luxury and ostentation of a social class that used to imitate European fashion trends. Among the most important manufacturers are Limoges, Worcester, Royal Doulton, William Adams, Pickman and Sargadelos. The building’s coach house features several items in relation with the means of transportation used at the time, including metal- and leatherwork objects and a luxury quitrín (horse-drawn private passenger vehicle).

    (under restoration)

    
  • Catedral de La Habana

    Catedral de La Habana  LH 5+

    The entry of the Jesuits in Cuba was formally requested in 1656, and in 1727, a plot was granted for their school and church. Bishop Brother Gerónimo Valdés explained to the King of Spain that Havana’ …

    The Malecón

    The Malecón  LH 5+

    The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a co …

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)  LH 5

    History & architecture Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former pa …

    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula

    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula  LH 5

    In 1664 the Presbyter of the Cathedral of Havana, don Nicolás Estévez Borges, ordered the construction of a chapel devoted to Saint Francis of Paola (founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims) …

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar  LH 5

    Opened in 1953, this is Cuba’s second largest church, which is visible for several blocks due to its vast dome built in Roman-Byzantine style. The Jesús de Miramar church boasts 14 large mural paintin …

    Edificio Bacardí

    Edificio Bacardí  LH 5

    The first and main exponent of art deco in the city belonged to Emilio Bacardí and was the home to his famous rum company. After winning the contest held by Bacardí, architects E. Rodríguez, R. Fernán …

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam  LH 5+

    The north-west corner of the square is occupied by the 18th-century Casa de los Condes de Peñalver, which has at different times served as a post office, a bank and a school. Today, it houses the Cent …

    Plaza Vieja

    Plaza Vieja  LH 5+

    The 16th-century Plaza Vieja has always been a residential rather than a military, religious or administrative space, and is surrounded by elegant colonial residences, combined with a few very strikin …

    Paseo del Prado

    Paseo del Prado  LH 5+

    In colonial times, this promenade received several names, including Nuevo Prado, Alameda de Extramuros, Paseo de Isabel II and Paseo del Prado, and with cuba’s independecne, it became Paseo de Martí. …

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced  LH 5

    Built between 1865 and 1867, this is arguably one of Havana’s most lush churches. The temple stands opposite a small square and its façade, constructed in Baroque style, features the principal door wi …

    1 of 22 pages »