Catedral de Santa Clara de Asís
|Santa Clara de Asís|
|Founded||1692 (This former building was demolished in 1923, the current one was built in the 1940s)|
|Dedication||Saint Clare of Assisi|
|Relics held||Original 1692 water basin, called Pilón, used to baptize the city residents / A lost and found marble statue of Virgin Mary|
|Architect(s)||José A. Mendigutia|
|Groundbreaking||June 30, 1940|
The Catedral de Santa Clara de Asís (Saint Claire of Assisi Cathedral) is a cathedral located in the city of Santa Clara, Cuba. It lies on Calle Marta Abreu, one of the city's main arteries, only 2 blocks from Parque Vidal and next to the cultural centre "El Mejunje".
It is the most important religious building in the city. The much argued-about church was built in 1940 after the pull down of the original one in Parque Vidal in the year of 1923. Neo Gothic in style, it guards a wonderful collection of lead stained glass windows, the original marble “pilon” or holy water basin used to baptize the citizens since the very birth of the city (those thereby baptized are called "pilongos"), the statue of Jesus in the upper front holds a monstrance which is said is made out of pure gold. But the most impressive piece of art is the larger than life statue of the Virgin Mary inside the structure locally known as “la Virgen del camino” (Travelers' Virgin). This statue used to be, at the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, on the road to Havana as a way to bless the incoming or outgoing travelers to the city. It was pulled down soon after and it disappeared for more than three decades. It was finally re-discovered around 1995 in a ditch, roofed by soil and undergrowth. Already forgotten by the citizens of Santa Clara, a political battle ensued to decide whether taking it to a museum or giving it to the church. It was finally granted to the religious authorities.
The construction of this project went through several public scandals. It was always the center of a heated electoral issue for ruling mayors in colonial times. Most of them and a number of citizens back in the 1920s were torn between the possibility of keeping the original "Iglesia Mayor" (Grand Church) located in Parque Vidal or tearing it down in order to make space for a re-designed and bigger plaza and re-locating the cathedral in a nearby location. Some people insisted in keeping the original colonial building since it was one of the first and oldest standing structures of the growing city realizing its importance as heritage. Eventually it was destroyed and two years later this one was finished. Not happy with this action, Church authorities raised a formal complaint versus the city and won it.
- Cristobal Garcia, Angel - El teatro La Caridad. (Colección Escambray, PUBLICIGRAF (R), 1993)
- Cristobal Garcia, Angel - El parque Vidal. (Colección Escambray, PUBLICIGRAF (R), 1993)
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