The San Francisco de Asís Square, witness to history

The San Francisco de Asís Square, witness to history

Heritage & Traditions

By Rose Ross

The San Francisco de Asís Square was built parallel to the Plaza de Armas, just 100 meters away in the direction of the Bay of Havana, in an inlet that was filled in 1628.

It took the name of San Francisco from the religious order that had begun the construction of a humble convent decades earlier, in 1575.

Witness to the coming and going of travelers, it preserves the atmosphere of its times of splendor. Today, sober and presentable, it continues in its incessant activity.

The San Francisco Square is the third in the order founded in Havana, not counting the original one that it had, being a town, and which is located in the place where the Castillo de la Fuerza was built.

This square had the first fountain in the city, located between the Cabildo houses and the pier. The Fountain of the Lions, one of the most beautiful and symbolic in the city, was brought from Italy in 1836, where it was sculpted in white Carrara marble by the artist Giuseppe Gaggini.

In its cobbled space, where pigeons flutter today, they emerge escorted by buildings of notable value, the Convent and the Church of San Francisco de Asís, whose tower is said to have been the highest point of the Villa for centuries.

The square is surrounded by various institutions, cultural and museum centers, among them the Lonja del Comercio, which currently houses commercial and diplomatic offices, the Habana Radio station and other foreign media, as well as the Sierra Maestra Maritime Terminal.

At present, in this square and in others in Old Havana, different shows and activities are held that show the value of cultural actions in public spaces and constitute a recreational option for residents and visitors, while contributing to revitalize the area and bring it closer to the new generations.