Historical museum of Guanabacoa: A Temple of the Afro-Cuban culture

The international reputation of this museum is due to the fact that it holds a complete collection of ethnography related with Afro-Cuban religious cults, with deep roots in this community in Havana.

It is place in the central part of Guanabacoa. Its rooms exhibit objects used in the rituals of the three main cults: Santeria or Regla de Ocha, Regla de Palo or Palo-Monte, and the Secret Society Abakua.

They have an extraordinary mythology, musical expressions and a rare handicraft. The Munanso room, for instance, has a reproduction of the place where the babalawo or priest makes the fortune telling rituals, surrounded by altars with catholic saints syncretized in African gods, decorated pots with the offering and the Ellegua looking with their pearl eyes from every corner.

The museum also has the costumes of the deities Ochun, Chango, Yemaya, and Obatala with their colors yellow, red and white, blue and white. In the interior patio are held music and dance sessions, related with the Afro-Cuban religious rituals.

The museum holds valuable documents, patrimonial objects and weapons that evidence the strong resistance of the inhabitants of the village to the British invasion in 1762, as well as their participation in several events related with the Independence War in Cuba.

Although Guanabacoa does not have a specific date of foundation, it is known it was growing around an aboriginal community, settled in the place before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492.

The archeological evidence of this period are also in exhibition. This place of obligatory reference and living temple of the Afro"Cuban Culture, as the ethnologist and writer Miguel Barnet described it, was re-inagurated in August 13th, 2003, after a process of restoration.

Address: 108 Martí Street between Versalles and San Antonio. Guanbacoa, Havana City.
Open: from Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00 to 18:00; Sundays from 9:00 to 13:00
Entrance: $2.00CUC
Scheduled visits: $3.00CUC
Telf: (537) 979117