The largest and oldest convent in Havana will revive as an art school

The largest and oldest convent in Havana will revive as an art school
The largest and oldest convent in Havana will revive as an art school

The largest and oldest convent in Havana will revive as an art school

the old convent Saint Clare of Assisi de La Habana, the largest and oldest in the Cuban capital, is undergoing a profound restoration of four million euros (about 3.9 million dollars) to revive, after almost four centuries of history, as an art school.

The project seeks to return its splendor to this extensive and solid 17th-century building, located in the iconic Old Havana, and at the same time provide the building with functionality to serve as an educational center.

The restoration of the future headquarters of the Santa Clara College of Arts and Crafts It is a “three-handed” project, recently stressed the ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Cuba, Elizabeth Brilliantreferring to the cooperation between the Historian’s Office of Havana, the regional office of Culture of Unesco and the EU.

During a guided tour of the building under construction together with various European ambassadors, Brilliant He thanked this “so fruitful” collaboration and was confident that the restoration can be completed by next year.

The visitors, with helmets and vests, walked with difficulties among the construction material, the scaffolding, the rubble and the centuries of history. Some professionals worked in the restoration.

The old Santa Clara de Asís convent in Havana (EFE)

To date, more than 250 tons of supplies have been imported for the works, worth 1.8 million dollars, and more than 2.5 million dollars are planned for new acquisitions until the end of 2023, according to the promoters.

The recovery work is currently concentrated in the first cloister of the old convent, which will house the classrooms, laboratories and conference room of the future study center.

The roof of one of the wings of the cloister has already been restored, as well as the ceilings of the four galleries, explains Pearl Rosalesdeputy director general of the Historian’s Office.

rose bushes He emphasizes that it is a “meticulous” and “complex” job in which “nothing has been demolished” and everything possible is being recovered, such as the original tiles of the convent.

The old Santa Clara de Asís convent in Havana (EFE)

four centuries of history

The religious enclosure, founded in 1644, was built to house the cloistered order of the Poor Sisters of Santa Clara, known as the Poor Clares, the first convent of its kind installed on the island.

In an area of ​​12,300 square meters, the construction of two floors, thick walls and a facade with high towers, came to have in its golden age three cloisters, a church, a refectory, a kitchen, an infirmary, an orchard and the necessary facilities for a community of one hundred nuns

The Poor Clares lived there until in 1922 they sold it to a real estate company and moved to another neighborhood in Havana.

Three years later, the monastery became the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works and, with the triumph of the revolution in 1959, a carousel of occupants arrived. In 2012 the building was in the hands of the Office of the Historian of Havana.

The Office of the Historian of Havana was then in charge of Eusebio Leal, a key figure in the recovery of the architectural heritage of the Cuban capital.

He was the one who launched, shortly before his death in 2020, the rehabilitation project of the old convent of Santa Clara, a key piece of the historic center of Havana, declared a cultural heritage of humanity in 1982.

Source: EFE.

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The article is in Spanish

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