Obrapia (House of Charity)
After a meticulous work, by November of 1983 one of the most beautiful colonial mansions in the Historic Center of Old Havana, the House of Charity, was completely restored.
Built in 1648, it is one of the most remarkable examples of domestic architecture in Havana. The portico, crowned with the family coat of arms, is the only one in the city.
Its name comes from a charity work that consisted in offering a dowry every year to five orphans for them to have a family.
Now as a house-museum, its objective is to exhibit and preserve important museum collections that are part of the history of Cuba.
This institution also intends to rescue and promote traditions such as the ones related to textile handicraft. For that purpose, the Sisterhood of Embroiderers and Weavers has its seat in this mansion since 1994.
At the moment, the museum has nine permanent exhibition rooms and one for transitory exhibitions. In the rooms people can see the way of life of aristocracy in Havana in the 19th century through different collections of decorative arts objects such as pieces of china; oil paintings; biscuit pieces; glassware; tapestries; marble, alabaster, calamine or bronze sculptures. There are also utility objects, furniture, personal objects and archeological pieces in exhibition. Among these rooms the Chapel stands out. Its pieces of furniture are true pieces of art in marble and wood.
The museum also displays a collection of pieces of French china, which belonged to different Cuban families of the 19th century, and lingerie in tablecloths, glass holders, and napkins. One piece that catches the attention of all visitors is the family tree of José Ignacio de la Cámara de O’Reilly Morel de Santa Cruz.
The precious white and gray marble of the floor, the great colonial lamps made of rock and baccarat glass as well as a variety of oil paintings, stand out in the main room.
The Room of Mysteries, a room that has been associated to several legends and whose original use is still an enigma today, is located on the roof of the house.
Address: Obrapía 158 between San Ignacio and Mecaderes
Open : Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 to 16:30; Sunday, 9:30 to 12:30.
Free entrance fee, with a box for the visitor to make a contribution