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Central Cuba Sights

Plaza Martí

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Fodor's Review

Plaza Martí, To the northwest of the plaza is the stout Iglesia del Buen Viaje (Church of the Good Voyage), which was built by mariners to protect an image of the Virgin Mary found floating in the ocean. The original structure, constructed in 1770, burned down in the 19th century and was replaced by today's version. It's a lovely edifice but is no longer used for mass, and is thus never open to the public. In front of it stands a monument that bears some likeness

to the Statue of Liberty; it's dedicated to local martyrs of Cuba's wars of independence.

La Iglesia de San Juan Bautista is a squat colonial structure with a massive bell tower on the plaza's eastern end. Its splendidly restored 18th-century interior (head for the back door, as the main doors are usually shut) includes high arches, an elaborate beamed cedar ceiling, and gilt-wood altars. Although its stone floor dates from 1550, most of the chapel was rebuilt in 1752; it underwent extensive renovation in the 1940s, including the construction of a new main altar using parts of the original baroque altar. The smaller altar to the right is dedicated to the Virgen de la Caridad, Cuba's patron saint. The gilt shrines along the walls are dedicated to various saints; note the pregnant Virgin, brought from Seville in the 1700s, to the left of the main door. No phone. Donation suggested. Mon.–Sat. 8–noon and 3–6, Sun. 4–6.

On the northern side of Plaza Martí you'll find one of the city's best-preserved colonial buildings. The former home of composer Alejandro García Caturla is now the Museo de la Música, a museum dedicated to his life. Built in 1875, the house has a small central patio planted with palms and surrounded by rooms that contain antique furnishings or exhibits on the composer's works. Calle Camilo Cienfuegos 5, Remedios, Villa Clara. No phone. 1 cuc. Tues.–Sat. 9–noon and 1–5, Sun. 9–noon.

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