Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula

CA5
Top Pick
Church / other
Architectural style: Spanish Baroque
CA Ranking: 5
Admission: Free
Avenida del Puerto, esq. a San Ignacio, Habana Vieja
  • In 1664 the Presbyter of the Cathedral of Havana, don Nicolás Estévez Borges, ordered the construction of a chapel devoted to Saint Francis of Paola (founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims) and a women’s hospital. Construction works began in 1668 in the neighborhood of Campeche. In 1730, a hurricane destroyed the church, which was rebuilt 10 years later in Baroque style.

    In 1907, Havana Central Railroad, a US company, tried to acquire the temple to transform it into a warehouse. Fortunately, the company’s several attempts to demolish the church were stopped by the opposition of several Cuban intellectuals, including historian Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring and anthropologist don Fernando Ortiz. Their efforts not only stopped the demolition of the church, but also got it listed as National Monument in 1944. Havana Central Railroads, however, was able to bring down the hospital upon approval from the relevant authorities.

    The Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula is an example of pre-Churrigueresque Baroque style and is quite similar to the Iglesia de San Francisco de Asís, with a ground plan that also took the shape of a Latin cross. Its façade, with a central arch and columns to the sides is typical of Spanish architecture. The front is crowned with a belfry, but the bells could never be recovered. The stained glass windows have been fully restored by the Office of the City Historian and are quite a sight.

    Considered by many one of the most precious jewels of Havana’s heritage, this building has now been restored as a concert hall and is the base and rehearsal space of Ars Longa, which together with the City Historian’s Office organize the Esteban Salas Ancient Music Festival.

    
  • Jardín Botánico Nacional

    Jardín Botánico Nacional  LH 5+

    These 600-hectare botanical gardens feature approximately 150,000 examples of 4,000 different species of trees and bushes from all over the world. A tractor train ride around the park departs four tim …

    Santa María del Mar

    Santa María del Mar  LH 5

    Santa María is the most popular beach among both Habaneros and visitors. It has lodgings, restaurants, watersports hire, grocery stores and a pharmacy. As with the other beahes, it boasts soft, white …

    Cámara Oscura

    Cámara Oscura  LH 5

    Located on the top floor of the eclectic-style early 20th-century Edificio Gómez Vila—the plaza’s tallest building (35 meters/115 feet)—on the northeast corner, the Cámara Oscura provides a 360-degree …

    Ivan Chef Justo

    Ivan Chef Justo  LH 5

    There is only one problem with Ivan Chef Justo and that is describing to people how to get there. Actually it is not that complicated, opposite the Museum of the Revolution on the Old Havana side. Con …

    Jardines de la Tropical

    Jardines de la Tropical  LH 5

    If you attend any of the concerts that are held here in an effort to save this place from the state of semi-neglect it has been plunged into for many years, it would be a good time to appreciate the m …

    La Zorra y el Cuervo

    La Zorra y el Cuervo  LH 5

    Probably the most well known venue for jazz in Havana, the ‘Fox & Crow’ offers an intimate environment in this basement venue notably marked by a red English telephone box at its entrance. Top jaz …

    Museo de la Revolución

    Museo de la Revolución  LH 5

    History & architecture In 1909, Governor General Aubert decided to build a new venue for the Provincial Government where the old city wall used to be. The design was by architects Rodolfo Marurí ( …

    Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas

    Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas  LH 5+

    This museum opened in 1964 and is housed in the house of José Gómez Mena, a mansion designed by the French architects P. Virad and M. Destugué in 1927. Gómez’s sister, María Luisa Gómez Mena, a wealth …

    El Patio (Casa del Marqués de Aguas Claras)

    El Patio (Casa del Marqués de Aguas Claras)  LH 5

    Located on the north-west corner of the former Plaza de la Ciénaga, today Plaza de la Catedral, this mansion stands out from its neighbors due to its wide and spacious portal juts out onto the plaza, …

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Cubano

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Cubano  LH 5

    Edificio de Arte Cubano – The Cuban collection The 30,000 plus pieces that form the Cuban collection is divided into six basic sections: Colonial Art (from the 16th to the 19th century), with a room d …

    « 3 of 22 pages »