Catedral de San Cristobal, Havana
It is the greatest example of the so-called “Cuban baroque style,” that was developed in Cuba at the beginning of the 18th century. Its construction started in 1748 and was stopped in 1767, when its managing agency, Compañía de Jesús (Jesus Company) was expelled from Spain and overseas territories –of course, Havana included--. Short time later, it was agreed to continue building it to transfer the Main Parish to such place. The construction finished in 1777, and it was given the rank of Cathedral in 1787. For over 100 years-from 1796 to 1898-the body of Christopher Columbus lay in a mausoleum here.
This was the last one of the main squares to be built. During the second half of the XVI century, some neighbors built their houses in this area and named it the swamp, because this is where the waters coming from the city gathered before going into the sea. It is therefore that the first running water system in Havana, Zanja Real, would relieve its waters through a whole on the wall of the square, at a place today known as El Chorro (The Stream), where there is currently a commemorative plate. This square became one of the main places of the city during the XVIII century, wealthy families of Havana’s high society started then to build mansions that can still be seen in the area. Its aspect changed completely, and its name became Cathedral Square after the outstanding Church of Jesus was built on one of its sides. In the XX century, constructions took place in the square, as well as some restoration work considering the city planning work of a French man known as Portier, who earned the credit for the flower on the pavement. The Cathedral Square is a charming and monumental place, inseparable from the soul of the City of Havana.
The "Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana" sits on the eastern side of the "Plaza de la Catedral". Completed in 1787, the church's facade is designed in the Baroque (Italian) style and it's simply stunning to look at. It was once believed to have contained the bones of Christopher Columbus. But after the Revolution, the remains were moved Santo Domingo and proven not to be those of the great explorer after all. The cathedral is supposed to be open every day but is apparently locked most of the time.
The plaza itself is actually quite small for a Latin American plaza, a walk from one end to the other takes less than a minute, and aside from a couple of small shops and the "Museo de Arte Colonial" (Museum of Colonial Arts), there's not actually very much to do there. I found it insanely frustrating trying to fit the cathedral into my camera's frame--I couldn't get far enough away from it without bumping into a plaza wall and I'd like to know how others got the shots they did. But that's also what I kind of liked about it; it's just a small, mellow place to take a break from walking around, sit down at the one and only outdoor patio ("Le Patio"), have a mojito, choose something from the limited menu, listen to the live band, and watch the world go by. In the evenings there is a livelier crowd, more live music, and dancing.
The Baroque Facade is considered as a highlight in old Habana.The square is filled up with locals - trying to get a dollar from the tourists.
In the evening it is less crowed and a diner with some friends like Jan/Claudine/Rosa and Ingrid - a meeting with some tourist from GENK/Belgium - just arrived a few days ago and leaving next day for a trip to Santiago, by a 12hours during trip by train - i never will forget.
Near to this Cathedral you will find "La Bodeguita del Medio !
The cathedral was built in the 18th century honouring Christopher Columbus, in which the great explorer's remains were said to be located before 1899, when they were shipped back to Spain. (although there were some disputes with the Dominican Republic, which also claimed that Columbus' remains were there.)
There is a bell tower on the two sides of the cathedral, with the right tower larger than the left one. The baroque structure stood greatly in front of the Plaza de la Catedral. Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral in 1998.
There is no admission fee to the cathedral. Try going there in the early afternoon as this is the most likely time that it is opened.
The 17th century cathedral is probably the most famous church in Havana and it is indeed magnificent. The construction was started by Jesuits and completed by the French. It has a nice Baroque style (managed to avoid looking like a birthday cake). The cathedral plaza is a great place for having a drink or just sitting and watching the people.
This old cathedral is a popular touristy spot, and a short walk both from El Malecon and the tourist hotels where Ernest Hemingway hung out in the older times.
You can spend time here being a total tourist and people will try to get all sorts of things from you by entertaining or begging.
You can also have a drink and listen to some great music.
I wish I had known about VT years ago when I actually went to Cuba, because everything has faded from my memory now. If you know what this building is, please let me know and I"ll update my web page. All I remember is that this is a very famous church, and this courtyard is nice place to go and relax.
Oh, for all your photography buffs out here.. I made a huge mistake taking this picture. If you look closely, you'll notice the vignetting around this picture. The reason this happened is that I tried, foolishly, to take advantage of two filters for this shot, a polarizer and a UV filter. The camera actually imaged some of the UV filter for this shot.. Kids, don't try this at home..
The construction of the Cathedral of Saint Christopher was begun by Jesuit priests in 1748 but stopped when they were expelled from Cuba. The rest of the church was finished by Franciscans in 1777. Pope John Paul II visited this cathedral in 1998. This cathedral is considered the main one in the city of Havana.
Or to give it its full name " Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de la Habana". A lovely sight in the early morning sunshine the cathedral was started by Jesuit priests around 1750 and took some 30 years to finish. Apparently some of Christopher Columbus' remains were kept her for a 100 years until the Cuban Independance in 1898 when the Spanish took them back to Sevilla in Spain. The apparent white appearance is to due to much of its construction was done with coral rock taken directly from the bay. There was a service going on when we were there** so not possible to have a good look round, there is a copy of a painting by Rubens and a statue of St Christopher dating from 1632 and brought from Spain. It is possible to climb to the top of one of asymmetric bell towers for 1CUC to get some fine views over Havana. Once inside the cathedral turn to the right and follow through to the door on the right, so coming up .behind the tower. There's a table there where someone will sell you the ticket.
Be wary at the top as sometimes you'll find a couple of "jiniteras" up there pointing out the different sights to the unwary tourist and of course holding their hands out. A smile and a shake of the head is enough to put them off.
**Went back 10 days later for a few photos of the inside.
Began as a Jesuist church at the beginning of the 18th century, after their expulsion in 1767 it became the cathedral (which explains the discretion is terms of size and interior decor).
Access is limited - Thursday-Saturday, 09.30am - 12.30pm, Sunday 08.30am - 12.30pm
The pedestrianised cathedral square is suprisingly small and could easily be the set of an opera production.
It is almost too obvious to say that this beautiful Cathedral is situated in the heart of Cathedral Square in Old Havana. I would love to have had the time to stay here a while and drink strong Cuban coffee in the nearby El Patio cafe, but sadly our guide rushed us through.
The Cathedral was built in the 18th century and I believe that Christopher Columbus remains were once kept here.
Even though the cathedral was not open when we visited the plaza, it is still a fabulous building to view from the outside. Built in the mid 1700's (1748 - 1777), its barocque style and the assymetrical towers make it stand out from the other cathedrals in the city. The church was built on the site of an old swamp, and the towers were built different sizes to allow the water that often accumulated during heavy rains to flow freely down the street and out to the bay. It is also commonly called Catedral Colon.
There is a very nice restaurant and bar in the plaza, El Patio. It's a nice spot to relax with a drink and rest your weary feet or if you're hungry the food here is very good. The cigar vendor in the square here was a very friendly man, and he introduced us to his sons and asked if we would take them back to Canada with us!
This is a nice cathedrale in the center of Havana. Give it a visit...it's worth it. And for those of you, who are not interested in culture, it's still a hideaway from the tropical sun in this city ;-)
The Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana (Cathedral of Saint Christopher of Havana) is the seat of Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, the Cardinal Archbishop of Havana, Cuba.
Set in the former Plaza de La Ciénaga or Swamp Plaza, the Cathedral is said to be the only example of a baroque construction that possesses assymetrical features - one of the towers is wider than the other. This particular feature was conceived in order to allow the water that tended to accumulate on the plaza to freely flow through the streets during the colonial period, when it was built.
Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier famously described the Cathedral as "music set in stone". It is the most prominent building on the Plaza de la Catedral, in Old Havana.
In 1996 Castro embarked on a bit of a reconciliation with the Vatican and the Pope. Part of his renewed love of the Church involved reaching out to other sects and the same year John Paul II came to Havana, Castro invited the Patriarch of Constantinople (I think) to visit Havana. In commemoration of his visit the Cuban leader consecrated a new Greek Orthodox church on the Cathedral grounds. This is a bit of an oddity, given that Orthodoxy is not at all big in Cuba, but its a neat little church that will break the streak of Spanish colonial style places of worship. There is an Orthodox priest who takes care of the church and, although he isn't all that friendly, he speaks good Spanish and is helpful.