Have you ever wondered what Havana’s highest building might be? There is no doubt that the Focsa building, the Havana Libre hotel and the Jose Marti monument in Revolution Square are the three highest man-made structures in the Cuban capital.

They are of course not the only ones however. The 24 storey, 94m high Ministry of Armed Forces building is noteworthy too.

Among other pre-1959 buildings that cannot be ignored is the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital with its 122m high main tower.

Even though by today´s standards it is by no means large, the tower of the Small Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, just over 44.4m high, was the highest of its time, not only in Havana but on the Island as a whole.

One of the republic’s first skyscrapers, the Commercial Strip, was erected back in 1909. Its 6 floors and elevators were quite the sensation, even though Havana had been introduced to the invention of the elevator at the end of the previous century.

The city’s first two-storey buildings date back to 1779. By the nineteenth century, three stories were not unusual.

On December 28, 1928 the Hotel Presidente on street G was opened. With ten storeys, it was one of the highest buildings in Havana at the time.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Reina Way with an overall height of 81m and the Grand Masonic Lodge on Carlos III and Belascoaín are also worth a mention.

In both height and diameter the dome of the Capitolio is the sixth biggest in the world.

The lamp it houses hangs 94m above the sidewalk and when it opened the only buildings of a similar style that were bigger were St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London, 129m and 107m high respectively.

The Habana Riviera hotel stands 71m above sea level and the Habana Libre hotel, that opened on march 19 1958, reaches 126m above ground level. Five meters lower, the Fosca building extends to 121m above street level. It was, in 1956, the second highest concrete framed building in the world, behind only the Marinelli building in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

The highest man-made structure in Havana by far is the Jose Marti monument in Revolution Square.

Its pyramid measures 141.5m to the flags and lights. There is a 60km long and 360 degree panoramic view from its platform.

The statue of Marti is 18m high and was sculpted from white marble by Juan Jose Sicre. The head was sculpted from a 3m by 2m block that weighed approximately 18 tons.

The sculpture was made from a total of 52 pieces that were sculpted at the base of the monument.

On the subject of statues, it should also be noted in passing that the 14.6m Statue of the Republic in the Capitolio’s Hall of Lost Steps is the third largest indoor statue in the world and that the 15m high work, mounted on a 3m high base, the Christ of Havana by Cuban sculptor Jilma Madera, is the largest undertaken by a woman for outdoor exhibition.

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