The ocher-colored Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla (Church of Our Lady of Regla, Sanctuario #11, e/ Máximo Gómez y Litoral, tel. 07/797-6228, daily 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.), built in 1810 on the harborfront, is one of Havana ’s loveliest churches. The church’s inner beauty is highlighted by a gilt altar, lit with votive candles.
Figurines of miscellaneous saints dwell in wall alcoves, including a statue of St. Anthony leading a wooden suckling pig wearing a dog collar and a large blue ribbon. Habaneros flock to pay homage to the black Virgen de Regla, patron saint of sailors and Catholic counterpart to Yemayá, the African goddess of the sea in the Yoruba religion.
Time your visit for the seventh of each month, when large masses are held, or for a pilgrimage each September 7, when the Virgin is paraded through town.
Outside, 20 meters to the east and presiding over her own private chapel, is a statue of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint. Syncretized as the orisha Ochún, she also draws adherents of santería.