for its beauty, the 18th-century Havana Cathedral
(Catedral de la Habana) has been called "music
cast into stone."
Construction on the church was started by the
Jesuits in 1748, who weren't around to see it
finished in 1777 (King Carlos III of Spain expelled
them from Cuba in 1767).
It was consecreated as Havana Cathedral in 1789,
and some of Christopher Columbus' remains were
kept here between 1796 and 1898. (They are now
in Seville Cathedral, Spain.)
The cathedral's Baroque facade is simultaneously
intimate and imposing, and one of the two towers
is visibly larger, creating a pleasing asymmetry.
The two bells in the taller, thicker tower are
said to have been cast with gold and silver mixed
into the bronze, giving them their sweet tone.
As with many churches in the city, the building
material of Havana Cathedral includes coral, cut
and hauled from the edge of the sea by slaves.
Look carefully and you'll see fossils of marine
flora and fauna in the stone of the cathedral.
Inside, there are copies of paintings by Rubens
and Murillo on the altars and frescoes by Italian
artist Giuseppe Perovanni at the top end of the
choir. A fine sculpture of Saint Christopher,
patron saint of Havana, dates from 1632 and was
made by Martín Andújar in Seville.