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San Francisco de Paula Church, Havana . Cuba

  • Paula y Cuba, Old Havana
  • Destination: Havana
  • Open: Daily
  • Telephone:
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On the same spot where the Ermita del Calvario was first located, the Women´s Hospital of Saint Francis of Paula was built about 1667, as the last will of the priest Nicolás Estévez Borges, who donated all his possessions to the construction. Besides the hospital a church was also built.

The devotion for Saint Francis of Paula, founder of the mendicant order of the same name, must have appeared in 1602 when the city was ravaged by an epidemic that only ceased, allegedly, when the saint was asked to intervene.

In 1730 the city was beaten by a terrible hurricane that destroyed the original church. The next year the construction of a new temple began. It had only one vaulted nave with a main domed chapel and lanterns. In 1745 the Bishop Lazo de la Vega placed on the main façade three sculptures of Saint Francis of Paula, Saint Peter and Saint Paul on vaulted niches carved into the stone itself. The nursery and other rooms were also restored.

The architectural style of this church is that of a pre-churrigueresque baroque. The apse, the short transepts and the dome are, in its heaviness, a symbol of the character of the colonial builders.

In 1907, when the hospital and the church had been closed down for a long time, the building was sold to a dock company so that the institution could be moved to another area. Both the hospital and the church were neglected. Its spaces were used as storerooms and the hospital was destroyed. Despite the destruction, the church could be saved. It was restored in 1946.

Mapa de San Francisco de Paula Church

San Francisco de Paula Church is located in Havana

Capital of Cuba and the country's administrative, political, cultural and scientific center, it is also the capital of two provinces: City of Havana and Havana. Though only around 280 square miles (727 square kilometers) in size-0.65 percent of the archipelago's total area.

The Old Havana and system of forts led UNESCO to declare it a part of world heritage in 1982. Founded on its present site in 1519, the settlement of San Cristobal de La Habana prospered mainly due to its bay, which was a natural port of call for ships sailing to and from the New World. Starting in 1634, because of its strategic location, San Cristobal de La Habana was considered the key to the New World-as attested to by royal letters patent-and the main defense of the West Indies.

The Cuban capital consists of an immense number of buildings in a wide range of architectural styles, built in the course of nearly five centuries. These styles range from the pre-baroque to the baroque, neo-Gothic, neoclassical, eclectic, art noveau and art-deco, to the modern.

Alejo Carpentier, one of Cuba's most famous authors, called it "the city of columns" and focused attention on its streets, which he considered a perennially rich show of life, humanity and contrasts that was bound to entertain any observer.

Over 14 kilometers of excellent beaches lie to the east of the Cuban capital. To the south, a green belt contributes to a healthful atmosphere.

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