Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón

CA5
Top Pick
Church / other
Architectural style: Eclectic
CA Ranking: 5
Open: 9am-5pm daily
Admission: CUC 1
Zapata y 12
  • History & architecture Declared National Monument in 1987, this is the most important cemetery in Cuba and its 57 hectares (10 acres) makes it the largest in America. According to Enrique Martínez y Martínez, in the Cuba Arquitectura y Urbanismo magazine, Cementerio de Colón “was the most notable religious construction built in the city in the 19th century.” Given the richness of its architecture and sculptures, it is also regarded as one of the most valuable religious constructions in the world, from a cultural viewpoint.

    In 1854, Cuba’s Governor Marquee of Pezuela tried to get a permit to have this cemetery built, but to no avail. It was finally authorized by Royal Decree in 1866. Construction works took almost 15 years and the cemetery was built as per the design of Calixto de Loira, the Spanish architect who won the contest organized to that end. The layout was designed with five crosses formed by streets that intersect perpendicularly. The two main avenues form the central cross, where the central chapel is located.

    A miniature city of marble, bronze, polished granite, angels, crosses and rich symbolism, Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón boasts works by some of Cuba’s most renowned 19th- and 20th-century artists, including Miguel Melero, José Vilalta de Saavedra, René Portocarrero, Rita Longa, Eugenio Batista, Max Borges Recio and Juan José Sicre. The entrance is topped by a Carrara marble sculpture, 34 meters longs and 21.6 meters tall, that represents faith, hope and charity.

    Many of the family vaults are smaller-scale versions of their owners’ mansions. Arches, cupolas, and stained-glass windows adorn these constructions. The most visited tomb is that of Amelia Goire de la Hoz, a high-society lady, who is now known as La Milagrosa (The Miracle Lady). Noteworthy is also the tomb of 1921-1927 World Chess Champion José Raúl Capablanca, featuring the sculpture of a king chess piece.

    A dazzling miniature city of creamy marble, glittering bronze, polished granite, angels, crosses and rich symbolism, Cementerio Colón was designed by Spanish architect Calixto de Loira and built between 1871 and 1886, on 55 hectares (136 acres) of former farm land. Laid out in a grid divided by calles and avenidas, with the octagonal Capilla Central (central chapel) at its heart, the cemetery has monuments, tombs and statues by outstanding 19th- and 20th-century artists. Plots were assigned according to social class, and soon became a means for patrician families to display their wealth and power with ever more elaborate tombs and mausoleums. The main entrance is marked by a grandiose gateway decorated with biblical reliefs and topped by a marble sculpture by José Vilalta de Saavedra, Faith, Hope and Charity. Some of the most important and elaborate tombs lie between the main gate and the Capilla Central: the Capilla del Amor (Chapel of Love) built by Juan Pedro Baró for his beloved wife Catalina Laza; the exquisite Monumento a los Bomberos (Firemen’s Monument) built by Spanish sculptor Agustín Querol and architect Julio M Zapata to commemorate the 28 firemen who died when a hardware shop in La Habana Vieja caught fire in 1890; and probably the most visited grave in the cemetery, La Milagrosa (The Miraculous One), the final resting place for Amelia Goyri de Hoz who died in childbirth in 1901 and was buried here with her stillborn baby at her feet. When her tomb was opened some years later, the dead child was found in Amelia’s arms. Ever since, the mother has been the centre of popular myth, and is celebrated as the Miraculous One, symbolising eternal hope. A huge number of famous Cubans have also found their final resting place here, including General Máximo Gómez, novelist Alejo Carpentier, composer Hubert de Blanck and countless martyrs to the Revolution. Start your visit at the information office (left of the main entrance), where you can enlist the services of an excellent English-speaking guide.

    
  • 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 …

    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 …

    Casa-Estudio de José Fuster

    Casa-Estudio de José Fuster  LH 5+

    José Antonio Rodríguez Fuster is a ceramist, draftsman, painter and printmaker. He has made illustrations for several publications, participated in a number of international symposiums and events, and …

    Basílica Menor y Convento de San Francisco de Asís

    Basílica Menor y Convento de San Francisco de Asís  LH 5+

    History & Architecture Initiated in its present form in 1716, this religious edifice was the most important symbol of the presence of the Franciscan order in Havana. It is a remake of an original, …

    Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro

    Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro  LH 5+

    Designed by Italian engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli and built by slaves with rocks extracted from the moats in the last decades of the 16th century, the Morro Castle to defend the town of San Cristob …

    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 »