One of Havana's grandest pieces of architecture, the Capitolio is an important landmark and one of Centro Habana's major touristic sights. It was designed to resemble the US Capitol in Washington DC, and the similarity is obvious. A monumental stone stairway leads to the vast domed hall, from where tours will take visitors beyond the doors to elaborately decorated chambers that once housed the seat of Cuban Congress. Today, it is home to the National Library and Academy of Sciences, and many of its rooms are still used for state events. It also houses a planetarium and a museum. Directly beneath the dome lies an imitation 24-carat diamond set into the marble floor, from where all highway distances between Havana and all sites in Cuba are measured. Sadly, this imposing building is starting to look a bit rundown. For part of 2012 it has been closed for renovations so be sure to check that it is once again open to the public before visiting. Having said that, it is probably worth walking by even if it is closed for tours as it is such an iconic attraction in central Havana. The area is a hot spot for vendors, artists and beggars which can make it interesting but be sure to watch your belongings carefully.
Address: Paseo de Marti, Centro Habana
Opening times: Open daily, from 9am to 6pm
Admission: Admission is CUC$3; A guided tour costs CUC$4