Cathedral "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción"
The Cathedral and Church "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción", arises at the beginning of the XVI century in the village of Baracoa once founded the same one. This Church for that time parochial was known with the name of La Iglesia Parroquial de la Villa de Baracoa.
After Diego Velázquez requested the creation in Cuba of a Bishopric, it was granted in 1516, being ordered that the same one resided in Baracoa. At the same time the Parochial Church existent in the village was high to the range of Cathedral Church, with the name of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.
April 28 1522, a bull of the Pontiff Alejandro VI, transferred to the village of Santiago de Cuba the Bishopric, elevated the Church to the range of Cathedral of the Island and Religious Center of Lousiana and Florida; which conserved the name of the Church of the village of Baracoa “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción".
For Cathedral was taken Santa Catalina's Hermitage, because it was the only one. But the same one lacked of conditions and therefore, it was began the construction of the first Cathedral (of Guano) immediately. There’s not existe ay information about the place of building, but it is knows when this work was done in 1526 and that one year later it was destroyed by a fire.
In this same year it was designated as Bishop from Cuba, the Dominican Frair Miguel Ramírez de Salamanca who in 1528 beginning the works of construction of the new cathedral. This time it was built of stone, guided of this to west, at a cost of 50 000 dukedoms, in the grounds that today occupies the current church, that was a elevation surrounded of several houses. It concluded in 1555.
In this social conglomerate during the XVI and XVII centuries the cultural life was extremely limited. During the XVI century the education decreased to the work of a small dependent school of the Cathedral Church "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción". In this school like teacher acted the first Cuban of that profession that is known: the priest Miguel Velázquez, a mestizo, Indian son and Spanish son, and about him it was said that he was a learned and virtuoso man.
In 1553, Jacques de Sores attacked the city and he demanded the amount of 80 000 pesos for not destroying the Cathedral.
In 1562 it suffered the first attack of French corsairs, leaving the temple roofless and disabling the cult.
In 1586, it was plundered again by the pirates, plunder that’s repeats in 1603, and this time sets on fire it. Twenty-five years later, in 1628, it was repaired and open to the cult.
In 1653, to expense of Don Juan Alvarez Salgado, the biggest Chapel was built.
The pirates Henry Morgan and Dolleys, in 1662, burn it and plunder it, and they stolen until the bells of the temple.
In 1663, It was tried to repair the damages, but it is not up to 1671 that reconstruction of the Second Cathedral begins using the goods of the church of Jamaica that it was English possession; and the works are inaugurated February 24 1674 by Presbítero Francisco Ramos.
With great difficult inaugurated, the same year, it had big damages because of an earthquake that forced to close it to the cult.
February 11 1678, between 9 and 10 in the morning, another violent earthquake destroyed the biggest Chapel and it provokes big damages in the body of the building.
A year later, in 1679, a hurricane and an earthquake crumble the remains of this Second Cathedral.
In 1686, the Bishop Diego Aselino de Compostela begins the construction of a new building that it went open to the cult without finishing in 1690 (Third Cathedral).
At the beginning of the XVIII century, in 1719, it had big repairs, and in 1760, when the arrived of the Bishop Pedro Agustín Morel de Santa Cruz de Lara, it were installed the four piles of holy water that today is still conserved in the church.
June 11 1766, at 11:45 in the night, the city shivered for one of the most violent earthquakes happened in Santiago de Cuba. The Main and Assistant Chapels were in ruins and for the cult in La Plaza de Armas a straw house was enabled and it was given by its owner Francisco Fuente.
A lot of intents were made to build a new cathedral, it was necessary demolish the ruined building, buy the surrounding properties, make designs, etc.
August 1810, 15, the first stone is finally placed of what would be the Fourth and final Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba.
It would be guided from north to south and it would have five naves. The works lasted eight years, culminating April 24 1818. It occupies a surface of 2 115 square métros
The earthquake of August 20 1852 ruins the lateral naves, the half orange and the towers, being broken the bells. These damages were repaired soon.
May 26 1874 are placed the clock, in the highest point in the city. This idea belonged to the siblings Don Tácito and José Bueno who suggested it to the Governor of the Square, in that time the Brigadier Don Sabas María.
February 15 1882 Pope León XIII grants to the Metropolitan Cathedral church the Basílica Menor title.
In 1922 it is added a body to each tower, and the angel is placed on the central part; two adornment also opened up and Cristóbal Colón and Padre Las Casas statues were placed. The interior of the temple was beautified, the átrio was narrowed, etc.
In 1932, a new earthquake causes damages in the building, the towers crack and the construction collapses.
In 1950 the old chapel of the Sacrarium was suppressed. In 1958, for Presidential Ordinance No. 93 of January 16 was declared National Monument.
December 28 1963 were inaugurated in this cathedral the Ecclesiastic Museum, created by initiative of the reverend Father José Vicente López.
The cathedral, at the moment, occupies a surface of 4 260 square metres. Its main facade is of approximately, 27 metres in the front by 34 metres of bottom.
The most important traditional religious activity is the procession of the Corpus Cristi, that was carried out the days of Holy Week, that day the national flag was hoisted in all the fortresses, as well as in the Town Council.