Every nation’s history has room for sadness, even more if there is physical evidence left, as in the case of the museum Fragua Martiana (Marti’s Forge). This institution is located on the ruins of San Lazaro’s quarries, from the 19th century, where the Spanish colonial government used to send the Cuban prisoners who had been accused of being unfaithful to the “nation”. Once there, children and old men were forced to perform hard labor. Teenager José Martí, Cuba’s National Apostle, was among them. That is why the museum constitutes a place of historic value in Havana and it was declared a national monument in 1996.
It was officially opened as a museum on January 28th, 1952, on the 99th anniversary of the birth of this hero. As part of its permanent exhibitions there are original documents, objects and photographic testimony related to Martí.
Perhaps the greatest contrast here is that, despite having been a place for so much injustice and anguish, it is currently a cultural center that offers services like guided tours, reading rooms, a video library, courses and activities for children.
Translation: Beatriz Rodríguez