guantanamo city .org - The land between rivers

Saint Catalina De Ricci Cathedral

Due to the growth of the population, the inhabitants of El Saltadero requested for the construction of a temple and the permanence of a priest in 1824.

By that time, the religious services were sporadically performed by the San Anselmo de los Tiguabos Parish Church. Nothing happened up to 1 832 when the request was raised to the governor of the island.

guantanamo city .org - Old Santa Catalina de Ricci Church

With the objective of building that temple, Pedro Manuel Perez, Belisario Rey and Lorenzo Jay contributed with a donation of a terrain of about 100 yards in 1835 for the church and its square, which is the place occupied these days by the José Marti Park.

The building started in April, 1837, but stopped during two years due to a merchant’s claim who insisted upon the raising of the institution at the surroundings of the 24 de Febrero Park the old center of the city.

The construction restarted in September 1839 in accordance with the initial project up to July 15, 1842, with its correspondent benediction that took place on July 27 to commemorate the death of the first rector priest and maestro José Andrés Rodriguez Luna, who was the first promoter of the building of the temple.

The first oratory was built in 1842, the very bad condition that it had caused that in 1863 was started the construction of another one in the same place that ended with architecture characteristics similar to the ones it has today.

In 1953 it was added a floor for the bell tower and was replaced the pyramid for a concrete cupola with a Latin Cross of iron in its highest point.

Between 1959-60 was produced another intervention in charge of Architecture Jioaquín Sebares, under the tutelage of Dr. Francisco Prat Puig.

guantanamo city .org - Santa Catalina de Ricci Cathedral

It was rebuilt the cover of the temple, adding it a splendid roof of rafter and plug that imitates the colonial roofs of 18th century; they joined coloured crystals to the windows and eliminate the blacksmithing by balustrades.

guantanamo city .org - Inside of Santa Catalina de Ricci Cathedral

In spite of all the architectonic modifications, it underwent since 1863, the Santa Catalina de Ricci Church, the actual cathedral, has never been changed of place. nor its physical space has been reconstructed bigger or smaller.