Napoleon Museum in Havana

Napoleon Museum in Havana

by cubapura

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm
Sunday from 9.30am to 12.30pm
Price: 3 CUC for tourists / 3 CUP for locals
Address: Calle San Miguel n°1 15, Havana, Cuba

The Napoleon Museum is located in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana, next to the Univeristy of Havana. The museum is in a remarkable 1929 Florentine Renaissance style mansion known as “La Dolce Dimora”. The building was originally built for a Cuban Italian politician called Orestes Ferrara by architects were Evelio Govantes and Félix Cabarrocas, whose also designed El Capitolio. No expense was spared, which you can tell from the wrought iron, the Italian marble and exquisite woodwork.

The collection itself is also worth millions of dollars. Most of it comes from Julio Lobo, the so called “Sugar King of Havana”. Julio Lobo was a Cuban businessman who effectively controlled the global sugar market . He was one of the richest people in the world, and also happened to be highly interested in Napoleon. He used his vast wealth to buy all sorts of Napoleon memorabilia and following the Cuban Revolution, it became a museum. The “Sugar King of Havana is the title of a great biography of his life.

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The structure of the museum mirrors the main political and military events of the Napoleon’s times. The first floor shows the fall of the monarchy, followed by the rise of Napoleon and ending with Napoleons exile on St Helena.

The museums collection is extense includes artwork, books, suits, military equipment, coins, furniture, and all sorts of other objects (such as Napoleon’s toothbrush). If you are a history or Napoleon fan you’ll have plenty to look at: sketches by Voltaire, paintings of the Battle of Waterloo, the weapons Napoleón took to the Battle of Borodino… Not all of the collection belonged originally to Julio Lobo though. A few of the items were wedding gifts to Raul Castro. It turns out that Dr. Francesco Antommarchi (the last doctor to treat Napoleon on Saint Helena) died in Santiago de Cuba, and his descendants gave Raul Napoleon’s death mask and watch.

Funnily enough, the bicorne (the Napoleon hat) is not featured in a particularly prominent location. Consider yourself a skilled visitor if you manage to find it.

Find out more about Havana museums.

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