Iglesia del Santo Ángel Custodio
The Gothic Iglesia del Santo Ángel Custodio (Monserrate y Cuarteles, tel. 07/861-8873), immediately east of the Museo de la Revolución, sits atop a rock known as Angel Hill. The church was founded in 1687 by builder-bishop Diego de Compostela. The tower dates from 1846, when a hurricane toppled the original, while the facade was reworked in neo-Gothic style in the mid-19th century.
It’s immaculate yet simple within. Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, was baptized here on February 12, 1853.
Iglesia del Santo Ángel Custodio was the setting for both the opening scene and the tragic marriage scene that ends in the violent denouement on the steps of the church in the 19th-century novel Cecilia Valdés by Cirilo Villaverde. A bust of the author stands in the plazuela outside the main entrance, to the rear of the church, on the corner of Calles Compostela and Cuarteles.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition