Gargoyles Recover Their Fierceness

The Palacio de Guasch, in the city of Pinar del Rio, has been under intense repair for months. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pinar del Rio, 19 April 2017 — At the beginning of the last century many parents did not let their children approach the mysterious construction that was erected at the corner of Martí and Cabada streets in the city of Pinar del Río. Its builder, Francisco Guasch, was considered a madman for building the most whimsical palace of Cuban architecture.

Along its almost 300 feet, the façade exhibits a diverse collection of flowers, plants, animals and mythological beings. On its nine columns the images hardly repeat, accompanied by towers of Gothic reminiscences with unclassifiable capitals and cornices.

Witnesses say that this architectural “phenomenon” only required two skilled masons and the creativity of its inspirer who, after studying medicine in Europe, returned to live on the Island. With his own hands he kneaded the stone and cement to give his monsters the beautiful ugliness of chimeras.

Now, those children’s grandchildren visit the wifi zone to connect to the internet a few yards from the property. Over time, the inclemency of weather and apathy chipped away at the structure of Guasch’s work, while in its interior, years ago, the Museum of Natural History took up residence.

The repair of the building, which will probably end in late July, has revived the residents’ hopes of seeing the terrible gestures of its gargoyles reborn. They are a testimony to the madness of a man who was considered a lunatic and who has ended up being seen as an outstanding son of the city of Pinar del Río.

Gargoyles everywhere. (