Archive for June 6th, 2018

June 6, 2018

And we go to the Cathedral of Havana!

Why not go back to tell you about a beautiful building in a distance land, you know its me. I am nostalgic on a cloudy, warm rainy day in Brittany, France. So let me tell you about the Cathedral of Havana, Cuba.

This is a mythical building in the old section of Havana or La Habana. The Cathedral is link directly with the history of the city and Cuba. I have spent my days there, and my family took me there in several occasions,now its time to talk a bit about it.

At first , in 1748, the Church would be the oratory of the Children of St. Ignatius of the Order of the Jesuits, then it would become a Cathedral. By royal decree in 1714, the Jesuits obtained the long-awaited permission and by 1727 they were notified of the exact place where they could build the Church and the convent. In the year 1767, the school was finished, but not the church, at that moment the expulsion of the Jesuits of the New World takes place. In 1772 due to the deplorable state of the major parish, the Spanish authorities decided to move it to the oratory of San Felipe Neri and in 1777, moved to the Church half-built of the Jesuits. In 1778 by order of Bishop Felipe José de Trespalacios began the process of transformation of the old oratory of St. Ignatius in the Cathedral of Havana, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, whose image is visible on the main Altar. The central nave was occupied until the independence of the island by a funerary monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus, then, at the end of the colonial period , the ashes of the admiral  were kept for 100 years ,later were transferred to Santo Domingo and thence to the Cathedral of Seville. The wooden frame on the funeral square inside the Cathedral of Seville is original wood from Cuba.

The Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana  is in the old casco historico or historic center of the city name to UNESCO world heritage sites as a whole. First it was a prayer by old huts and bird dropping use as a house of prayer since 1528 ,then,  it was a prayer site for the disciples of  Saint Ignacio of the order of the Jesuistes in 1727, then construction began by 1748 and by 1767 the collegiale was built but the church not yet completed.   It was declared a Cathedral on June 22,  1790. The Cathedral was not finished until 1832.


The Cathedral is of Baroque style, and considered more similar to those done in Tuscany, Italy by its two side bell towers, its temple forms a rectangle of 34×36 meters,with  three naves and eight lateral chapels, divided by thick pillars. The floor is in black and white marble. The sculptures and goldsmith works of the altars as well as of the main shrine were done by the Italian Bianchini, they were executed in Rome in 1820 under the direction of the famous Spanish sculptor Antonio Solá. Behind this altar are three original frescoes by the Italian painter Perovani. The interior paintings were made by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Vermay. Among the various chapels that houses is the one of Our Lady of Loreto, 1755, before the transformation in Cathedral of the Former Jesuit parish, it has an independent entrance. There is  a  fine sculpture of Saint Christopher, patron saint of Havana, dates from 1632 and was made by Martín Andújar in Sevilla. Its dome that is below the side towers is visible from the surrounding buildings with an intense orange color.

It is surrounded by the square that bears its name, that houses the mansions of the colonial nobility, among these are the Palace of the Marquis of Arcos, the House of the Counts of Casa Bayona, 1720, which is currently the Museum of Colonial Art and the mansion of the Marques de Aguas Claras. Also, the Palacio del Conde Lombillo or palace of count of Lombillo.

The Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral in 1998 to try to bring peace and respect of human life to the island rule by a still dictatorship.

You do well to take a look at the tourist office in Cuba and elsewhere for more information as to current shape, status and if there are opening hours.

Tourist office of Havana: Havana tourism

Tourist office of Cuba: Cuba Tourism

See the Arquidiocesis of Havana on the Cathedral in Spanish here: Arquidiocesis de la Habana on the Cathedral

And the webpage of the Church of Cuba in Spanish here: Church of Cuba in Spanish

Hope it helps your planning and see the wonders of the Paris of the Americas even in its last gasps.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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