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April 28, 2007
Inside the main hall (admission to this part is 2 peso a further 2 peso to take photographs) and we are immediately over shadowed by the dominant gold figure who successfully dwarfs all tourists who enter through the massive wooden doors.Doors, which on the inside tell a story of Cuba’s history through intricately carved panels. Unfortunately, my ignorance of Cuban history meant that I was only able to appreciate the panels for their artwork rather than the story line.
In the center of the huge domed hallway, a small glass dome, inset into the floor, shows off one of ‘a girl’s best friends’, a diamond; sparkling beneath our feet. A superb center spot underneath the Nacional’s Cuprinol, which is a masterpiece of design and well worth cricking one's neck to appreciate its design features. The elaborate plaster carvings, the extensive use of gold leaf and its bright dominant colors directing the eye to the center spot: the eye on the outside world. Amazing.
Either side of the palatial entrance hall are two long wide corridors stretching into the distance with their highly polished marble floors reflecting every ray of light that finds its way into the building.
You can only visit the ground floor of this building and even then much of it is not accessible to the tourist, but the Salon de los Pasos Peridos (the entrance hall) will surely leave you with lasting memories. It truly is a lavish extravaganza demonstrating authority, power, and influence.
From journal Havana and its museums
Hasselt, Limburg, Belgium
November 13, 2000
I was silenced once inside the magnificent polished entrance hall. A plushly decorated interior full of striking and extravagant Rococo-style details. The seat of the House of Representatives and the Senate prior to the revolution, both beautifully furnished in Cuban mahogany, are two fantasticly ornate main chambers that make this place really worth seeing!! The walk round, with a free tour guide, is surprisingly brief and shouldn't take you more than twenty minutes. In front of the Capitolio Nacional there's a parking place for taxis. You can see hundreds of classic American cars - Chevrolets, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs - from the 1940s an 50s, which have survived in isolation from the outside world since the 1959 revolution, ply the roads. Some are beautifully maintained, others are rolling scrapheaps. Almost all of them are now employed by their owners as taxis.
From journal Hola la Habana!