REMEDIOS, CUBA

Remedios, also known as San Juan de los Remedios, is a city and municipality located 3 miles from the northern coast of Cuba, in the center of the island. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in the former Las Villas province. It is now part of the province of Villa Clara. The main attraction in the Plaza Isabel II is the Iglesia Mayor of San Juan Bautista, containing 13 decorated gold altars. As the city was frequently raided by pirates and corsairs, the gold was hidden under white paint. The most famous pirate to attack the town was the French François l’Olonnais.

In a renovation that took place between 1944 and 1954, with donations by Cuban millionaire philanthropist Eutimio Falla Bonet, the real gold under coats of paint was re-discovered. Falla Bonet was said to have traced his ancestors back to Remedios, where one was a founding member of the city and another was born in Remedios. On the north side of the square sits another church, Igesia del Buen Viaje. Remedios is the only town in Cuba with two churches on its main square, but the Iglesia del Buen Viaje has been abandoned. It is leaking and closed until repairs are authorized by the government.

The Central Plaza or Plaza Mayor was restored in 1970. It is surrounded by colonial buildings, beautiful monuments, trees, palms and a gazebo, like many towns in Cuba that were designed according to a Spanish urban standard.

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