Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis

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The Basillica in 1762 during the British occupation - painting by Dominic Serres

The basilica and the monastery of San Francisco de Asis were built in Havana, Cuba at the end of the sixteenth century (1580–91) as the home of the Franciscan community in Havana. The basilica was altered in 1730.

The Capture of Havana, 1762- The Morro Castle and the Boom Defence Before the Attack

This church was used for their worship by the English during the year in which they ruled Havana. The Siege of Havana was a military action that lasted from March to August of 1762, and was a part of the Seven Years' War. British forces besieged and captured the city of Havana, which at the time was an important Spanish naval base, the Brirish dealt a serious blow to the Spanish Navy. Havana was subsequently returned to Spain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris that formally ended the war. When it returned to Spanish rule, they chose not to use it as a church. It is now used for concerts. Attached to the Basilica is a bell tower (138-ft). Originally a statue of St. Francis of Assisi stood on the top of the bell tower but it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1846. Today a statue of Fray Junípero Serra with Juaneño Indian boy stands next to the basilica.

The Basilica in 2016

The cloister of the adjacent monastery which dates back to 1739 now houses a museum of sacred art. In front of the Basilica on the sidewalk stands a bronze life-size statue by Jose Villa Soberon of José María López Lledín known as El Caballero de Paris (1899–1985) is buried inside the Basilica.


  • Cuba - Eyewitness Travel Guides (Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-7566-0172-X
  • Havana (Lonely Planet Publications,2001) ISBN 1-86450-229-0
  • The Odyssey Illustrated Guide To Cuba (Guidebook Company Ltd., 1995) ISBN 962-217-370-5

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Coordinates: 23°08′13″N 82°20′54″W / 23.13694°N 82.34833°W / 23.13694; -82.34833