Palacio del Segundo Cabo


in Habana Vieja

Wedged into Plaza de Armas' northwestern corner, this beautiful baroque building was constructed in 1772 as the headquarters of the Spanish vice-governor. After several reincarnations as a post office, the palace of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the National Academy of Arts and Letters, the building reopened in 2016 as a multifarious museum dedicated to Cuban-European cultural relations. It’s masterfully done, using modern media devices to highlight various facets of Cuba and Europe’s interwoven history.

Spread over two floors, the interconnecting rooms include a timeline ‘tunnel,’ a couple of cube-activated screens broadcasting different elements of Cuba’s history, an interactive trajectory of Cuban-European musical forms, and a comparative study of the architectural development of Havana and Barcelona. Aided by EU funding, it’s the best new museum in Havana for a long time.