The old colonial home that houses The Arabian House, in the very heart of Old Havana, is itself a great example of the strong Moorish influence on Cuban architecture since the 18th century.
The red-brick arcade, the form of the ceilings and galleries, and the ample inner patio decked with plants and flowers epitomize the Mudejar construction style brought over to Cuba by Spanish master builders. The halls boast marquetry pieces with ivory and precious wood inlays; practical and sumptuous robes worn by Saharan nomads; remarkable camel saddles; exquisite rugs and tapestries, and an exact replica of an Arab market place.
Also on display is one of Nature's wonders: a desert rose, a calcareous formation resembling a flower that occurs on sandy soils when evaporation causes salts to concentrate. Eighteenth and nineteenth century weapons, gold and silver plated and with intricate ornaments, form one of the most complete collections in the country.
Also of note, The Arab House is the only place in Havana which houses a Moslem prayer room (complete with the Koran and other religious objects), open to local and foreign believers.
There are also Islamic weapons from the 18th-19th centuries. They are plated with gold and silver, carefully decorated, and form one of the most complete collections in the country. It is the only place where there is a room for Muslim prayers, and it is open to national and foreign believers, with a collection of the Koran and other cult objects.
The Arabian House is the headquarters of the Museum of Perfumes that exhibits collections from bottles of perfumes found in archeological excavations of the 19th century to different perfume lines and dressing table items from the beginning of the century and today. It has a specialized restaurant in Arabian cuisine.
Type: Other Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle Oficlos e/ Obispo y Obrapia, Habana Vieja.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday.