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In Old Havana El Escorial Cafe
It is known that in the middle of the 17th century it belonged to Capital Martín Sotomayor and that its reconstruction began in 1751. Later, at the end of that century, D. Francisco Franchi Alfaro y Ponte, the Second Marquis of the Royal Proclamation, acquired it to use as his home. At the end of the 19th century it was bought in its totality by Sr. Pedro Manuel Bances y Miranda, and remained thereafter in the hands of his descendents.

This house, in contrast to the others in the plaza, has an elaborate façade with baroque trimming and an unusual double arch without a central support in the hallway leading to its balcony. It has two floors; the lower level with an arcade dating back to the original construction, and the upper level with open archways and rails that were originally timber but were later replaced by iron.

The home was remodeled in the 19th century, when the interlaced timber roof was replaced by a flat one and the terrace roof extended. During this period, the lower floor, on the corner of the plaza, was occupied by the El Escorial Café-Restaurant, whose owner Ramón Gutiérrez inaugurated it in 1913. Six years later it was converted into a multiple family home, although the corner business remained.

The facade suffered from progressive advanced deterioration, with the loss of large sections, but in 1987, with the intervention of the City Historian’s Office and the National Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology, a large part was restored to the image that it had in the 19th century.

Currently, individual apartments are still located on the upper floor and Café "El Escorial" continues to occupy the ground floor, but with a new and attractive interior decoration provided by artworks. •


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