The Serafin Sanchez Park and its History
The history of the Serafin Sanchez Park dates back to the XVII Century, since in this area the Veracruz hermitage is erected in 1690 and San Francisco’s Convent is founded to its side, in 1716, , which was governed by the most numerous monastic order in America by that time. To the front there was an empty space to which people used to call Square of San Francisco or Square of the Convent. This square had a religious character, but it was harboring other functions such as the market of the city and the Royal Factory. This way, it came to be surrounded by houses with porches in some parts and of others of certain category, with hanging elements that were remodeled in the XIX Century. Later the park was gifted with trees, flowers, iron grates, gas illumination and it cheered up with frequent band concerts. It was the only place of the city for elegant walks, in such a way, for that reason it was the main entertainment place. It is without doubts, the most significant achievement of for the Santi Spiritus colonial squares. The transformations made to the church endowed it of a beautiful facade of neoclassical elements, of luxurious altars and of new furniture completing a beautiful mark to that distinguished Entertainment Square or Weapons Square.
The Serafin Sanchez Park and the National Liberation Wars
During the wars of national liberation of the XIX Century, the Square – that is today known as the Serafin Sanchez Park – lost its splendor and their religious buildings were barracks and hospitals. This caused that they deteriorated, but not to the point of being necessary eliminated. However, in 1899 they began to be demolished. Later, in the surroundings of the Square old constructions were eliminated or remodeled. The Square changed drastically, because the convent was demolished and several projects were executed to transform it in park, until in 1911 the most important was presented whose conclusion was in 1914.
The Serafin Sanchez Park and its Restoration Process
In the 2014 and as a part of the actions for the celebration of the 500 years of the foundation of the Fourth Villa of Cuba, constructive tasks were carried out to totally restore of the Serafin Sanchez Park. During the reconstruction works carried out by different entities manufacturers there were found important vestiges of the existence of San Francisco’s Convent and of the equal Church, besides remains of china elements, nails, horseshoes, ceramic, floors, very old walls and remains of human skeletons. Before such an archaeological discovery the authorities agreed to carry out actions of recovery of the place where in the past both constructions were built during the colonial stage.
Outstanding Data on the Serafin Sanchez Park
After having culminated the recovery actions in the area, specialists of the City Conservation Office, supported by the Havana Historian Office, prepared the Serafin Sanchez Park in their constructive actions to allow visitors to enjoy the archaeological discoveries in the completely remodeled park. The new design, valued in 700 thousand pesos, resembles the one of the republican epoch (1914) and in which were included of the green areas, the sidewalks reconstruction, the pavement of the streets, the installation of 133 banks and 42 lights, the change of the park arbor, the disposition of the old furniture, the palms that identified the square and the statues of Serafin Sanchez and Jose Marti. At the same time the 18 emblematic buildings were conserved to recreate the park environment. Today is par excellence the main area of the city and it is a recreational-cultural and commercial center. Its environment is conformed by constructions of different centuries, with eclectic manifestations at several constructive levels.