At the western end of the Plaza de Armas is the former residence of the men who governed Cuba. A succession of some five dozen Spanish captain-generals (also called governors) lived here until 1898, and the U.S. governor called it home prior to the Revolution. The wooden "paving" on the plaza in front of it was installed on the orders of a 17th-century captain-general, who wanted to muffle the clatter of horses and carriages so he could enjoy his naps undisturbed. Today the palace is the Museo de la Ciudad de la Habana, with such unique treasures as a throne room built for the King of Spain (but never used); the original Giraldilla weathervane that once topped the tower of the Castillo de la Real Fuerza; and a cannon made of leather. Groups of pioneros often gather in the gallery here for art-history classes, and you can buy art books in the on-site shop. Inside it to the right is a plaque dated 1557; it commemorates the death of Doña Maria de Cepeda y Nieto, who was felled by a stray shot while praying in what was then Parroquia Mayor, Havana's main parish church. The tomb in the pit to the left holds the remains of several graves discovered in the church cemetery.
Plaza de Armas, Calle Tacón, e/Calle Obispo y Calle O'Reilly, Havana, Cuba