5 must-visit libraries, theaters and a cultural palace in Havana

1) Library of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country

The overall message of this building is one of austerity, conveyed by the lofty portico and the rectangular volume with only a few openings. The book depot tower which has rows of windows, which resemble slits, serves as the rear façade. The building has an inviting, central patio full of lush greenery. Built by Govantes and Cabaroccas.

Headquarters of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country

Carlos III no 710, entre Soledad y Castillejo, Centro Habana

2) Biblioteca Nacional José Martí

This impressive-looking library rizes up on the edge of Plaza de la Revolución and is a good example of modern architecture. This tower overlooks part of Havana and is divided into four reading rooms, two libraries, one theater, three galleries, a video projection room, a cafetería and a special service for researchers.

Biblioteca Nacional José Martí

Avenida Independencia esquina 20 de Mayo, Vedado

+53 7855 5442

http://www.bnjm.cu

3) Teatro América

Teatro América, designed by Fernando Martinez Campos and Pascual de Rojas, has contrasting green-and-white lines and recessed windows. The symmetrical elegant façade and the zodiac signs in the main lobby are a good example of (late) art deco. The stage is shell-shaped and the auditorium has more than one hundred seats.

dancers warming up at the Teatro América

Galiano no 253, entre Neptuno y Concordia, Centro Habana

+53 7862 5416

4) Teatro Fausto

Designed by Saturnino Parajón. The theater was built on the foundations of an old theater and completed in 1938. In 1941, Parajón received the Architectural Association’s Gold Medal for his design. The classic art deco façade is clad with a mixture of white cement and stone dust which changes color when illuminated with incandescent gas tubes.

Teatro Fausto in Havana

Paseo de Martí, esquina Colón, Centro Habana

5) Palacio del Segundo Cabo

Built in 1772 as the residence of the Spanish vice-governor. After serving as a post office, Palace of the Senate, the Supreme Court and the National Academy of Arts and Literature, the building is now home to a cultural space, which celebrates the cultural relations between Cuba and Europe.

inner courtyard at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo in Havana

Plaza de Armas, O’Reilly no 4, Habana Vieja

http://www.segundocabo.ohc.cu

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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Havana reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Havana's best-kept secrets.

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