The Cross Hill

The Cross Hill
The Cross Hill

Some Information about the Cross Hill

Located in the city of Holguin, the Cross Hill rises up to 261 meters above the sea level. It takes its name from a wooden cross placed at the top, which is protective symbol for many people who play promises to it and original ornament for others. The Cross Hill has 458 steps, including intermediate landings and banks. His ascending is strong enough for those who are not physically fit. Later, in this place a rear road was built by which people could access by car without much effort and enjoy fine food restaurant located on its summit. To ascent walking or by car allows visitors to admire Holguin City from above.

The Cross Hill Historical Data

The first cross was placed in 1790 and was taken there by the friar Francisco Antonio de Alegria, prior of the Holguin Franciscan Community. From that moment the hill when from the name “Cerro Bayado” its current one: “Loma de la Cruz” (Cross Hill). Fray Francisco established himself there the May Festival, a Spanish religious and traditional festival where the date on which St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great died at Calvary tied to a wooden cross is celebrated. In the early Twentieth Century by the initiative of a neighbor named Oscar Albanes – historian and father of Holguin Library Science – restoration works were carried out on the Cross Hill slopes, both the base and the top. The restoration was done by the architect Vicente Biosca, which was completed on May 3rd, 1950 and exact time the second cross was placed because the first was already badly damaged. These works were financed by the residents of the Holguin town, with raffles, collections and festivals to raise the money. The third cross was placed in the first years of the nineties of the Twentieth Century, since a lightning destroyed the previous one. The third cross, which is now in the Cross Hill was built with caguairán wood , like the original in 1790. This precious wood is abundant in the forests of the Bariay region.

The Cross Hill and other Relevant Data

There was another Cross Hill in Holguin. In the nineteenth century, a priest known as Father Calderín, with pity for the amount of people who could not climb the steep Bayado Hill, placed a cross on the Maria Ruiz elevation a smaller hill. However, the Cross Hill not only has an impact in the ethnocultural aspect for Holguin but also in the historic one , as it was considered a strategic
point for the defense of the city by the Spanish Army. Moreover, it is important that the Romerias de Mayo (May Pilgrimages) were made until the fifties of the Twentieth Century. Every year the population went to Cross Hill to fulfill promises and celebrate the festival. The Pilgrimage became a popular celebration that began with a parade from Liberty Street to the top of the hill in Holguin. From there a mass was officiated and the parties were initiated, people danced and ate until dawn the next day. The games that were performed were traditional, such as tape runs, cockfighting, drinks, roast pork, among others. Currently the May Festival is still celebrating.

Visit of Pope Francisco and Cross Hill

On September 21st, 2015, Pope Francisco, in what was the last stop on his visit to the city of Holguin, blessed the city from the Cross Hill.

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