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.
This is Old Havana's classic cathedral. The plaza fronting the cathedral and the church's baroque facade, with its asymmetrical towers, are the most visited attractions in La Habana Vieja. Inside, the cathedral is simple, almost to the point of austerity, thanks to a radical, 19th-century neoclassical makeover. Still, the vaulted ceilings, massive stone pillars, and modest collection of art and antiquities certainly make it worth a visit. Of these, the 17th-century wooden sculpture of Saint Christopher is quite interesting -- Despite the official visiting hours listed below, the church is frequently closed tight. If you're lucky, you might be able to attend Mass here at 9:30am on Sunday.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ;-)
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...
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 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 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.