Well Havana does have other Churches!

Sitting back and looking over my photos, I realised that I as many like to write about the big ones, the Cathedrals etc, and famous Churches. Well , there are many wonderful temples that are not yet discovered or not enough and are just as beautiful and full of history and architecture that I like. This is especially the case with La Habana, or Havana, Cuba. The island nation has plenty of wonderful Churches and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.

I have decided to write about them even if long post, I just took the ones that I remember from childhood and got some old books at home out and even pictures;hope you like it. These are my favorites Churches of Havana.

As you can see from the list below, there are differences between the terms of Cathedral, Parish, Church and Chapel.  Religious temples in the Catholic Church differ by their territorial hierarchy.  The archdiocese is an area with several temples under the jurisdiction of an archbishop and the main church that is its headquarters is named Cathedral.  The parish is still in importance and has under its authority one or several nearby churches and chapels, the latter of a simpler structure. The hermitages are small temples usually far away from the towns.  The sanctuaries are temples to which many faithful pilgrims, where an image or relic is venerated or where a miracle took place.

For addresses and contact this unofficial site has plenty of info on Cuba and in this case the Churches: http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/help-churches-comunities-havana.htm

The official archidiocèse of Havana site is here: Havana Archdiocese webpage

Official Catholic Church in Cuba: Catholic Church in Cuba

And here we go!

Church San Francisco de Assisi located at Calle Cuba, Old Havana (Habana Vieja). Its construction began in the year 1548 and lasted until 1591, although it was inaugurated in 1575, it was completely finished almost 200 years later, with a series of structural reforms occurring from 1731 to 1738. The facade is located on the Calle Oficios where you can see three stone statues representing the Immaculate Conception, San Francisco de Assisi and Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It is composed of three large naves, which are held by twelve columns representing the Twelve Apostles, of the Catholic Church. It has a tower of 48 meters of height, which in the colonial era was the highest structure of the city for several centuries. The tower was crowned by an image of Saint Francis of Assisi, in stone, whose head was torn by the wind during the hurricane of 1846. A garden in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has recently been built in the back.  The Franciscans monks used it as a high school for centuries; they taught grammar, philosophy, theology and mathematics. The Spanish colonial government takes in 1841 the property of the religious communities and the friars moved to the Church of St. Augustine, relatively close to the convent.  After this the convent is destined as warehouse and office of the General Archive and the Customs of Havana. After independence, in 1907, it is destined to the General Directorate of Post and Telegraph. In 1916 it was transformed again to host the General Directorate of Communications, which would later become a ministry. In 1941 and in 1944 it had restorations done.  In 1957 it moved the Ministry of Communications , and the Cuban revolution, it is given the category of Museum of Colonial History and one that  incorporates many historical objects of religious character to its collection. It was located in the lower basilica of the convent, after restorations, a room of sacred music and chamber.

Havana

Havana

Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes. You will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome. It consists of three naves separated by monumental arches of half a point. They call attention to the abundant and beautiful decorations of shades of gold and gleaming yellow, which contrast with the chestnut of the benches and the magnificent frescoes of the ceilings. The luxurious murals, the images of the vaults and the rest of the works of plastic arts, make up a collection of paintings from the last quarter of the 19C thanks to renowned Cuban artists of the time, including Manuel Lorenzo, responsible for the lofty main section, and Juan Crossa, who decorated the dome and the upper edges of the vaults of the greater Altar. The mural of the lower part of the Chapel, which refers to a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Lourdes, is the work of Didier Petit, while the landscaper Esteban Chartrand painted the background of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, located at the end of one of the two side aisles of the temple. They complete the constructive space the beautiful altars and the convent  annex, which maintains its original functions and is defined by a beautiful cloister patio. Father Geronimo Viladás asked that his remains be buried in La Merced after his death. Thirty years after he died, his desires were finally fulfilled and from 1913 he rests in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes within the aforementioned church.

The construction of the temple began in the year 1630 at the hands of the faithful of the Lady of Mercy. The process, however, required more time and effort than expected. More than a century later, in 1742, the section between the facade and the pulpits had barely been completed, as well as a poor adjacent convent house. For 1834, the government employed the building as a warehouse, housing customs goods, until in 1863 it was handed over to the Vincentian fathers. The occasion was celebrated with a big popular festival and with the revival of the construction by Geronimo Viladás, Superior of the Missionary Friars now responsible for the enclosure. In the new task the established community poor and rich again intervened. Finally, on January 31, 1867, the renovated temple was inaugurated.

Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day. It has the fundamental elements of this neo gothic style with pointed arch, high pointed vaults, reduced walls, large windows and luminous stained glass windows.  The altarpiece was made in Madrid, made of alabaster, wood and bronze, was brought in pieces and mounted on site. From the Calle Reina, you can see the great image of the Sacred Heart, carved in wood, whose base is the central capital that represents the parable of the Prodigal Son and the two saints who make guard; San Ignacio de Loyola and San Francisco Javier . Within the Temple, there are beautiful windows with stained glass, representing the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, passages of the Life of Ignatius of Loyola and some Jesuit saints. The Church has a central nave, supported by six lateral columns topped by ornate capitals, those that end at the main altar, which highlights a gigantic image of the Sacred Heart in an attitude to bless the faithful. To the right and left they are accompanied by two lively groups of Jesuit saints, as well as other saints and church doctors. A set of five angels, formed with their wings deployed a docility there is a bronze plaque on the altar of the Mass, where Jesus Christ is depicted as the slaughtered lamb and standing, symbol of his death and his subsequent resurrection, accompanied by a multitude that He sings praises to. The parish count also, with one of the most elegant organs of Cuba. The floor of the central nave is made by elaborate mosaics of stone and Crystal tesserae, it has in its entry the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, which signify Christ, and Ji and Ro, C and R initials of the Son of God in Greek.  In the end, there is an ancient anagram of Jesus in Latin: JHS Jesus Homo Salvator (Jesus Man Savior).  The two aisles form a Latin cross, one is dedicated to San José (St Joseph), where there is also an image of the Virgin of Charity of Copper (Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), patron of Cuba, along with the Cuban flag. The altar of the other nave is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and is where the tabernacle that holds the consecrated hosts is located. At the bottom of the temple is carved an image of the Virgin of Fatima.

 Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty.  The gigantic altar still looks like its gold-covered spiral columns. It also presents four beautiful pendentives painted by the first Cuban painter of which it is mentioned, José Nicolás de Escalera. The first Cuban scientist graduated in medicine, Dr. Tomás Romay y Chacón, was baptized in the parish Church of Santa Maria del Rosario in 1764. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 something. José María Chacón y Calvo, a prominent  Hispanic historian and sixth Earl of Casa Bayona, was baptized in this Church. In addition, the Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999.

Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world. The church murals, representing the 14 stations of the Via Crucis, were painted between 1952 and 1959 by the Spanish artist Cesareo Marciano Hombrados y de Onativia. The Roman soldier who stripped Jesus of his garments is a self-portrait of the artist himself.  The artist, also used as models for the murals by his wife Sara Margarita Fernandez and to all the people who contributed to the construction of the temple. The garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France).

Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Again not much on it just for the memories.

Punta Brava

The first church built in Havana was on the grounds where the Plaza de Armas of Old Havana is today, its construction cost only 32 pesos and was destroyed by the French pirates in 1538. Some of the old ones are here:

Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Originally built as a hermitage and converted in 1693 in auxiliary of the major parish, it elevated to the category of parish in 1703. In the year 1899, after the American occupation, it was handed over to the American Augustinian Fathers. In the possession of these, the residence of the friars, a parochial school and the private School of St. Augustine were built in the surroundings.

Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, very little remains of it due to the successive works of repair, reconstruction and remodeling that are carried out until the 19C. The tower was built in 1707, the vault of the presbytery towards 1720 and around 1760 an almost total reconstruction was executed that included the erection of new walls and the addition of a lateral nave. Other elements of interest in this temple are the funerary crypts discovered inside in 1953; The tomb of Bishop Gerónimo Valdés, found in 1936; And the fact that it was declared in 1773 as the only church in Havana with the right to grant protection to those persecuted by the authorities.

Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela. By Royal Certificate of the King Charles III of Spain, dated in Madrid on March 14, 1700, the foundation of the convent was authorized, which was originally destined to the religious order of the Barefoot Carmelites. On January 28, 1702 was dictated by Bishop Diego Avelino de Compostela, the decree authorizing the founding of the monastery in the building that then occupied the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem (Nuestra Sra de Belén), with the houses and plots that he donated for the foundation of the east. The convent was called for many years monastery of the Barefoot Carmelites of Our Lady of Bethlehem of the Carmelitas Descalzas de Nuestra Senora de Belén). In 1753, the restoration of the Church that needed proper maintenance in the face of the deterioration of its ceilings. A few years later, the old walls of earth were replaced by stone walls. In 1928, the Carmelite mothers leave the residence because they were deprived of the closure that provides the order, as the height of the buildings that were built surrounding the monastery, specifically a building of the famous pharmacy Sarrá that It consisted of seven plants. After the nuns left the building that occupied the church and convent  was very much changed. In what was the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, another Church was founded with the name of María Auxiliadora, which remains its name today. Their gardens were abandoned and gradually lost the charm of other eras until they came to disappear. What once was orchard became a social dining room, in the part that gives to the Calle Compostela and in which it gives to the Calle Aguacate, in a child care center. The curb of the well and the cross that embellished the courtyard of the monastery, disappeared from the place many years ago.

Again ,these are some of my memories that are still there, and a beacon of hope for many of Havana. Plenty of history and architecture too, and if you are by there feel free to stop by, there are looking great after all these years.

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

 

 

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