The House of the Arabians: the Moorish spirit in Havana

The huge old house hosting this museum, placed in the very heart of the ancient part of Havana, is the materialization of the Moorish spirit that influenced with strength the Cuban architecture since the18th century.

The arches of red bricks, the shape of the ceilings and their galleries, the ample interior patios decorated with plants and flowers, are a synthesis of the examples of the constructive style inherited by Spain from the Muslim Arabia, the masons that arrived to Cuba.

Its rooms hold the cabinetworks inlaid of pearl and precious woods; the practical and majestic costumes of the nomads of Sahara, the camels' riding mount of and outstanding manufacture, the confection of carpets and tapestries, and the zoco, a traditional Arabian market, which is reproduced in the museum.

In the exhibition there is also a beauty of nature: the Rose of the Desert, a rare calcareous structure in a form of a flower. It is formed in the sand when the humidity containing a high level of salt evaporates.

The Islamic weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries covered with gold and silver in a detailed ornament, are part of one of the most complete collections in the country.

There is also a small reproduction of the dhow, typical sailing ships in the Persian Gulf, which have slightly change their image in the last 500 years. The Ibn Jaldum library holds important collections concerning Arabian and Islamic topics, especially 19th century historical chronicles, essays about the Islam and text of contemporary Arabian and Islamic art.

The Arabian House
is the only place where in the city having a Muslim worship room opened to national and foreign followers, with a collection of the Koran and other objects used in the cult.

This institution was inaugurated in November 16th, 1983 as part of a project of integral restoration led by the Office of the Historian of Havana.

Its cultural and educative program includes guided visits, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, dance shows, poets meetings, book launches, exposition of traditional costumes, tasting typical cuisine, post grade curses, and attention to the elders and children of the community.

Address: 114 Oficios Street between Obispo and Obrapía, Old Havana.
Telephone: (537) 861-5868.
Open: Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:00 - 16:30; Sundays, 9:00 - 13:00
Entrance free of charge. Visitors can make contributions in an available box.