Cathedral Square, the most beautiful

Cathedral Square, the most beautiful

Heritage & Traditions

By Alina Veranes

The one today valued as the most beautiful and famous Cuban colonial square, that of the Havana Cathedral, located in the Historic Center of the capital, was not born with good fortune or expectations at the dawn of the city, when the second half of the 16th Century was passing.

It was even called Swamp Square at first, since it was located in a very flooded area that also served to supply water to the neighbors and ships, either by existing underground springs and later by the Royal Ditch that reached there later, forming the Chorro Alley.

However, it was surrounded by some houses. Slowly it was incorporated into the busy progress of the city and the eighteenth century arrived, in which wealthy families built mansions that still stand.

She stopped being Cinderella, dedicated only to supplying water or repairing ships from Creole shipyards, for her appearance was drastically transformed, for the better. The original name was forgotten, since most of the water sources had dried up with so much urbanization, and people began to call it Plaza de la Catedral, since at the end of that century such was also the range of the old religious temple built by the Jesuits, before they were expelled from Spain and their overseas possessions.

Converted into a Cathedral on1777, with its stylish and beautiful Baroque façade with a marked Creole imprint, the temple presides over the beautiful view that is a postcard when we approach it from the front, starting from the building that today occupies the Museum of Colonial Art.

Mansions such as the former home of the Marquis of Aguas Claras, and other high-ranking representatives of the Havana nobility of the colonial era, make up the best preserved environment among Cuban squares.

These main houses are clear monuments of the architectural evolution of a city that was already beginning to show signs of what would be part of its national culture.

They added unique values to the square, which is currently the center of a very lively cultural and urban life. The Church or Major Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Havana and maintains its trade and religious activity as prescribed by its authorities.