Casa de la Obra Pía

Habana Vieja

One of the more muscular sights around Calle Mercaderes is this typical Havana aristocratic residence, constructed around 1648 and rebuilt in 1780. Baroque decoration, including an intricate portico made in Cádiz, Spain, covers the facade. The house today functions as a decorative-arts museum, containing a potpourri of period furniture from Chinese to French. It was one of the first structures to be rehabilitated by the City Historian in the early 1980s.

A local embroidery cooperative maintains an HQ here, and you'll spy some old Singer sewing machines not yet requisitioned by Havana's hipsters. Beware: opening hours can be temperamental.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Habana Vieja attractions

1. Statue of Simón Bolívar

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The corner of Mercaderes and Obrapía has an international flavor, with a bronze statue of Simón Bolívar, the Latin America liberator, in a small park.

2. Casa de África

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The Casa de África houses sacred objects relating to Santería, including Abakuá masks, collected by ethnographer Fernando Ortíz.

3. Maqueta de La Habana Vieja

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Herein lies a 1:500 scale model of Habana Vieja, complete with an authentic soundtrack meant to replicate a day in the life of the city. It's incredibly…

4. Calle Mercaderes

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Cobbled, car-free Calle Mercaderes (Merchant's Street) has been extensively restored by the Office of the City Historian and is an almost complete replica…

5. Casa de Asia

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Casa de Asia exhibits a minor cache of paintings and sculpture from China and Japan.

6. Casa de México Benito Juárez

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The Casa de México Benito Juárez exhibits Mexican folk art and plenty of books but not a lot on Juárez (Mexico’s first indigenous president) himself.

7. Museo de Bomberos

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This museum contains antediluvian fire equipment dedicated to 19 Havana firefighters who lost their lives in an 1890 railway blaze.

8. Museo de Simón Bolívar

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A diminutive museum dedicated to Latin America’s great liberator, who remains a perennial hero to most Cubans. Downstairs there are panels containing text…