Triangular Plaza Independencia (Antonio Maceo, e/ Frank País y Ciro Frias) is the town hub and is pinned by a bust of Hatuey, the Indian chief.
Plaza Independencia is dominated by the near-derelict Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (it was trashed by Hurricane Ike and will likely remain closed for some time), dating from 1805 on the site of an earlier church destroyed by pirates in 1652. The church is famous for the “Cruz de la Parra,” a dark, well-worn, meter-tall cross (supposedly the oldest European relic in the Americas).
Baracoans believe that Columbus left the cross upright amid stones at the harbor entrance in 1492. Carbon-dating analysis confirms that it is indeed about 500 years old, although scientific study by experts determined that the cross was made of Coccoloba diversifolia, a native New World hardwood that grows abundantly around Baracoa . Perhaps Columbus whittled the cross himself in Cuba!