Inside the center of Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana lies the achingly beautiful Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana which is perhaps the grandest church in Havana. Built by Jesuits, this masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture was completed in 1777 at a time when Cuba’s Catholics saw a growing need for new churches to build the religion.
I first saw the Catedral de San Cristóbal during our afternoon tour of Old Havana. The beautiful Baroque facade designed by Italian architect Francesco Borromini was what first captured my eyes. The afternoon sun had a way of beautifully bouncing off each unique angle in a magical way. Although the Plaza de la Catedral was quite crowded with tourists, the inside of the cathedral was peaceful and serene.
We entered the church through an enormous, beautifully adorned wood door, and suddenly all was quiet and calm. It felt like entering another world, far away from the noise and commotion of the tourists and the hot, sultry Cuban sun.
The majestic alter once inside the cathedral was built for greatness and had several rows of pews for the growing Catholic population. Most of the cathedral was made of coral taken from the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently sometimes you can see remains of fossils inside the corals.
I would have loved to have been inside the cathedral on a Sunday for mass. I can only imagine the beauty of the organ playing with the heavenly sounds of music filling my soul with warmth and peace.
My last post “Sunrise in Old Havana’s Plaza de la Catedral”