Catedral de San Cristobal, Havana

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 21 Reviews

Old Havana

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Cathedral of San Cristobal de la Habana
    Cathedral of San Cristobal de la Habana
    by gwened
  • Cathedral with restaurant on the left
    Cathedral with restaurant on the left
    by Camping_Girl
  • My new fren' the cigar vendor
    My new fren' the cigar vendor
    by Camping_Girl
  • Havaname's Profile Photo

    Cathedral Square

    by Havaname Written Oct 3, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cathedral Square, Havana, Cuba

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana

    by Kaspian Updated Oct 25, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Plaza de la Catedral (2004)
    3 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Luchonda's Profile Photo

    The most famous Cathedral in the Americas

    by Luchonda Updated Jan 15, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Cathedral

    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 !

    Was this review helpful?

  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana

    by mim95 Updated Jul 23, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • aramat's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristobal

    by aramat Updated Sep 8, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Catedral de San Cristobal

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • maryamy's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristobal

    by maryamy Written Jun 2, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Catedral de San Cristobal

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • duanestorey's Profile Photo

    Go see old churches

    by duanestorey Updated Apr 8, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Churches downtown

    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..

    Was this review helpful?

  • Soozay's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristobal

    by Soozay Updated Mar 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cathedral of Saint Christopher

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Cathedral

    by leffe3 Updated Aug 3, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SabrinaSummerville's Profile Photo

    Stunning Baroque Creation

    by SabrinaSummerville Written Jan 24, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Most visited Cathedral in Havana

    by Camping_Girl Updated Feb 8, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cathedral with restaurant on the left
    3 more images

    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!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • PelLihi's Profile Photo

    Cathedrale

    by PelLihi Written May 12, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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 ;-)

    Was this review helpful?

  • Santini738's Profile Photo

    Catedral de San Cristóbal

    by Santini738 Written Mar 17, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Catedral de San Crist��bal
    2 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Greek Orthodox Church

    by mikey_e Written Aug 11, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entrance to Greek Orthodox Church

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Baroque...

    by austen1973 Written Aug 17, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This baroque cathedral built in the 18th centruy by the jesuits is one of the oldest in the Americas and is THE monument to visit in Havana along with the Capitolio.
    We were lucky as we were there on a Sunday morning and got to attend the mass so it gave us entire different memories...

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Havana

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

92 travelers online now

Comments

View all Havana hotels