One of the highlights of the Cuba visit was a day trip to Remedios. It’s a 30 minute drive north from Placetas. We drove up there looking for a blender for my cousin. We both found a blender and got to visit the 8th oldest town in Cuba.
It’s a small historical and architectural jewel with a rich tradition of legends and myths. Remedios stages its traditional “Parrandas” fiesta every year on the 24th of December. The buildings, parks and monuments date back to the 1600s and include a restoration by a Cuban millionaire from more than a half century ago.
Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Remedios
The main attraction in the Plaza Isabel II is the “Iglesia Mayor” of San Juan Bautista containing 13 beautifully decorated gold altars. Its main church is said to be the 2nd oldest Church in Cuba.
The bell tower is a neoclassical design and the interior is a baroque. Some of the most important features to look for are the ornate ceilings and the gold leaf covered cedar altar.
The original church was constructed in 1570. The present church was built in 1692 on the existing structure of the original church. In the mid 1900s, an Cuban American millionaire called Eutimio Falla Bonet traced his family tree back to nearby Santa Clara, and found that one of his ancestors had been a founding member of the city. He found records in the church on the square that confirmed his ancestor had been born there. He spent $1 million renovating the church containing the records, the Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Remedios.
Remedios is best known by many Cubans for its Christmas festival, “Las Parrandas de Remedios”, one of the most popular events of the region. The Parrandas, yearly festival draws a large crowd of visitors from all the world. This festival takes place the night of December 24th or Nochebuena, and consists of a fierce competition between two “Barrios” (nearby towns) for the best “Trabajos de Plaza” or “Carrozas” (floats). It is celebrated with fireworks, music and dancing. The “Parrandas” is considered the oldest festival in Cuba.
Remedios was an amazing visit. Not only did they have pretty well-equipped appliances store (yes, we did find a blender) but it has some of the oldest and most beautiful churches not just in all of Cuba but in this hemisphere! I’d love to go back in December to see the full festival.
Stay tuned, my next post is on Trinidad, Cuba’s Prettiest and Oldest Town