Quinta las Delicias
The art nouveau Quinta las Delicias (Av. Santa Catalina, esq. Palatino, tel. 07/867-0205 or 841-1526, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., by appointment only), an art nouveau mansion on Calzada Palatino, was built in 1905 by Charles Brun for Rosalia Abreu, a socialite who populated the extensive grounds with almost 200 monkeys—hence the popular name, Finca de los Monos (Villa of Monkeys).
The vestibule is graced with a mural by Cuban artist Arturo Mendocal, and by glorious stained glass. It functions today as a youth center.
If you’ve come this far, you may as well peek at the Pabellón de los Depósitos del Acueducto de Albear (Fomento, e/ Chaple y Recreo), two blocks east of Calzada Palatino. This neoclassical reservoir with giant frogs in each corner was designed in 1856 by Francisco de Albear to supply gravity-fed water to the ever-expanding city.
It still functions as the modern, albeit much dilapidated, waterworks, and supplies one-fifth of Havana’s water. Visitors are not allowed inside.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition