LA IGLESIA MAYOR

The church was granted the title of National Monument in 1978.

The church or vicarage is regarded as the oldest and most important architectonic monument of Sancti Spiritus, the fourth village founded in Cuba by Spaniard Diego Velázquez.

It was first built with straw, palm tree leaves, and hay; but when the village was moved from its first location in 1522, a new parish was constructed. Sometime in 1612, Don Luis de la Corcha donated the famous “gold cock” to decorate the parish’s main altar.

The church’s archives, ornaments, and sacred vessels were destroyed during a pirate raid around 1660. Pirates also took the gold cock which, according to Indias de Madrid’s records, was not really a cock, but a solid gold pigeon.

Soon after the pirate attack, villagers started a movement to build a new church. The then mayor Don Ignacio de Valdivia, who happened to be a rich and go-ahead kind of man, bore the costs of the new building, the construction of which was concluded in 1680.

The church building is typical of the most advanced period of the XVII century. Its only tower, built on one side, is considered one of the highest and most solid towers of colonial times. In 1911, a clock was placed on the building’s central section, the third it’s ever got.

The arch construction between the presbytery and the central nave is also worth noting. It’s said to be the only one of its kind so far preserved in the island. Its construction is connected to the visit paid to the village by a senior church official, since it bears a legend that reads:  “This arch was made by decision of Don Pedro Agustín Morell de Santa Cruz, of this island of Cuba, in 1758”.

The church has been recognized for its historic and cultural values, as well as for its Moorish-style architecture. Thus, it holds the status of National Monument since 1978.

 

 

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