Edificio Focsa


Unmissable on the Havana skyline, the modernist Edificio Focsa was built between 1954 and 1956 in a record 28 months using pioneering computer technology. In 1999 it was listed as one of the seven modern engineering wonders of Cuba. With 39 floors housing 373 apartments, on its completion it was the second-largest concrete structure of its type in the world, built entirely without the use of cranes.

When it fell on hard times in the early 1990s, the upper floors of the Focsa became nests for vultures, and in 2000 an elevator cable snapped, killing one person. Rejuvenated in the 2010s, this Havana giant nowadays contains residential apartments and a top-floor restaurant with spectacular views.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vedado attractions

1. Monumento a las Víctimas del Maine

0.17 MILES

West beyond the Hotel Nacional is a monument (1926) to the 266 American marines who were killed when the battleship USS Maine blew up mysteriously in…

2. Edificio López Serrano

0.19 MILES

Tucked away behind the US Interests Section is this art deco tower, which looks like the Empire State Building with the bottom 70 floors chopped off. One…

3. Hotel Nacional

0.25 MILES

Far more than just a hotel, the Nacional, built in 1930 as a copy of the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, is a national monument and one of Havana's…

4. Hotel Habana Libre

0.29 MILES

This classic modernist hotel – the former Havana Hilton – was commandeered by Fidel Castro's revolutionaries in 1959 just nine months after it had opened,…

5. US Embassy


Arguably the world's most famous US embassy, this modernist seven-story building on the Malecón with its high security fencing first opened in 1953, but…

6. Gran Synagoga Bet Shalom

0.31 MILES

Cuba has three synagogues, serving a Jewish population of approximately 1500. The main community center and library are located here, where the friendly…

7. Mella Portraits

0.44 MILES

Opposite the Monumento a Julio Antonio Mella outside the Universidad de la Habana are black-and-white Mella portraits permanently mounted on the wall in…

8. Universidad de la Habana

0.45 MILES

Founded by Dominican monks in 1728 and secularized in 1842, Havana's university began life in Habana Vieja before moving to its present site in 1902. The…