The Museum for the Best Cigar in the World
By: Roberto F. Campos
In a small space deep in Old Havana, the best cigar in the world has its own museum. Located in a 18th Century house that the Bartolomé Luque family had built on Los Mercaderes Street and inaugurated as a museum on February 26, 1993, the place is filled with the aroma of that precious plant.
It is the only facility in Cuba dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of all things related to the culture of tobacco and cigars.
On exhibit are instruments for the processing of the tobacco leaf, pipes, lighters and numerous items related to the art of smoking. Meriting special mention are a 19th Century press formerly in the old Corona Habanos factory, a table used by those creating the world marvel, and several tobacco packages from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Also on display is a vast collection of old stone lithographs and bands of prestigious cigar brands.
The museum, on the top floor of the old house, has three exhibition rooms, two entrance halls and furthermore, on the ground floor is the Casa del Habano, opened in May 1994. Its proximity to the museum make this Casa del Habano distinct from the other 92 such facilities scattered around the globe.
Visitors receive firsthand information on the history of tobacco in Cuba from the growing of the leaves in the Vuelta Abajo region - in the westernmost part of the island - to its industrial development.
During the visit you can see the wooden reproduction of the tobacco idol, a symbol of the value the leaf had for the indigenous Taíno communities that lived on the island before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers.
In the exhibition and conference hall of the facility, overseen by the Historian’s Office of Havana, there is a chart showing the geographical location of the Casas del Habano around the world, the companies that distribute Habanos and a collection of photos of the global Habanos personalities and important consumers of the famed cigars.
The Cigar Museum exhibits works by Cuban and foreign artists related to tobacco, and also serves as a venue for specialized conferences and events sponsored by this institution.