Top 5 museums in Cuba

Che Guevara Mausoleum, photo by hellosputnik on Flickr

Cuba is a great place to have fun: lovely beaches, great rum, hiking and other outdoors sports and of course, dancing salsa. But what about some activities for those who prefer more intellectual pursuits? Fortunately, Cuba has quite a few museums where you can spend hours and hours learning about the country’s history and culture. While some of them might be slightly biased, there is a world of things that you can find out in Cuba’s museums, whether you’re interested in contemporary art and history, or pre-Columbian relics. So if you’re like to spend a quiet afternoon exploring the halls of a museum, here are some suggestions for a top 5 museums in Cuba that you might like to visit.

Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara

Except for maybe Fidel Castro, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara is the most famous figure of 20th century Cuban history. The famous revolutionarywas executed in a Bolivian village in 1967, but his remains were eventually returned to Cuba and he was buried with full honors in 1997. The mausoleum houses his remains, and also has a museum dedicated to his memory, where you can find exhibits documenting his life.

National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana

National Museum of Fine Arts, photo by Tony Hisgett

For a good introduction to Cuban art from colonial times until the present day, a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts in the Cuban capital is a must. The museum was opened in the 1910′s and despite many moves and efforts, it managed to acquire an impressive collection which is now housed in two equally impressive buildings. The Palace of Fine Arts is dedicated exclusively to Cuban art, while the Palace of the Asturian Center contains European sculptures and paintings as well as some ancient art.

Architectural Museum of Trinidad

Trinidad has some stunning examples of colonial architecture, and if you want to know more about the history of architecture in Cuba, architectural styles and methods, then the Architectural Museum of Trinidad will surely answer your questions. The displays include some of the most iconic samples of architectural developments from the 18th and 19th centuries, like carvings or grilles.

Felipe Poey Natural History Museum, Havana

Finca Vigia,photo by InZweiZeiten

The work of the outstanding Cuban naturalist Felipe Poey, is put on display in the Felipe Poey building of the University of Havana. The exhibits and samples gathered by the naturalist during his lifetime, such as preserved fish, stuffed birds and animal fossils are all displayed along with scientific explanation of their origin. The museum is the first of its kind in Cuba, and contains a significant amount of scientific samples.

Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula

It’s no secret that Ernest Hemingway loved Cuba, and Havana can still boast of several of the bars and cafes where the writer spent his time. However, only San Francisco de Paulo can boast of having the house where the Hemingway family loved for over 20 years. After Hemingway’s death, the property went to the Cuban government, and it was transformed into a museum dedicated to the writer. If you’re a literature fan, this is definitely in the top 5 museums in Cuba that you should visit.

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