The Sanctuary of the Virgin of Regla, Cuba

HAVANA TIMES – According to history, March 3, 1687, is marked as the date the municipality of Regla was founded. On this day, the Marquis of the Royal Proclamation, Don Pedro Recio de Oquendo, donated a piece of land to the pilgrim Manuel Antonio, a native of Peru, for the construction of a hermitage to Our Lady of Regla.

The hermitage was built on the northeast bank of the bay, in front of the thriving town of San Cristóbal de La Habana. The settlement that developed around it later obtained the status of a town. The hermitage was initially built in 1690 through alms and donations collected by the Peruvian pilgrim. The first materials used were wood and palm leaves.

This initial construction was later destroyed by a storm. The current temple was started in 1792 by an Asturian named Juan de Coyedo Martin. It also served as a residence for the almoners who approached it. Since then, the Virgin has been on the main altar, protecting the bay. Unlike other hermitages in Latin America, this one in Cuba is quite modest and humble.

In Cuba, where religious syncretism between Catholicism and African religions is notable, the Virgin of Regla is identified in the Yoruba pantheon with Yemaya. Nowadays, devotees of the Virgin of Regla, Yemaya, and other saints and religious deities from the entire city and even the country gather at the sanctuary. In its surroundings, beggars seek survival in the name of some saint.

We also include some photos of the bay taken from the vicinity of the temple.

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