Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (Minor Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi), Havana

Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (Minor Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi), Havana

The Minor Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, located in the Old Havana district, is a Franciscan convent with a rich history. Construction commenced in 1548 and concluded in 1591, with inauguration occurring in 1575. However, it faced damages from storms in 1680 and 1692, and a hurricane toppled its tower in 1694. Reconstruction efforts began in 1716, continuing over two centuries with structural reforms between 1731 and 1738.

During English rule in Havana, the basilica served as a place of worship before being repurposed for concerts. Adjacent to it stands a 138-foot bell tower, originally graced by a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi, though destroyed in a cyclone in 1846. Today, a statue of Fray Junípero Serra with a Juaneño Indian boy occupies the space.

Architecturally, the basilica blends elements of Corinthian and Doric styles, with traces of early Baroque. Its façade on Trades Street (Calle Oficios) features three stone statues representing the Immaculate Conception, Francis of Assisi, and Saint Dominic. Recognized as a Minor Basilica in 1739, it stands beside the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, inaugurated in 1628. Alongside Old Havana, it holds UNESCO World Heritage status since 1982.

The monastery's cloister, dating back to 1739, now houses a museum of sacred art. Additionally, a bronze life-size statue by Jose Villa Soberon, depicting José María López Lledín, known as El Caballero de Paris (1899–1985), stands on the basilica's sidewalk, with his burial inside the edifice.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Havana. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (Minor Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi) on Map

Sight Name: Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (Minor Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi)
Sight Location: Havana, Cuba (See walking tours in Havana)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Havana, Cuba

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Creating your own self-guided walk in Havana is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Discovered and conquered by Spanish colonists in the early 16th century, Havana has turned into a major religious center of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Although a communist regime is currently in power, many of the churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings have been preserved and still give a glimpse of the city’s religious heritage.

The old Havana Cathedral, located in a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Old Palaces Walking Tour

Old Palaces Walking Tour

Havana has been the seat of Cuba’s ruling gentry for centuries. Today, you can walk the streets of Old Havana and explore its palaces to get a glimpse into the city’s royal past. Although these structures now serve Havana’s citizens and visitors, they still catch your eye (and your camera lens!) with their architecture and history.

Start your trip with the ornate Presidential Palace,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The Spanish founded Havana in 1519. After French pirate Jacques de Sores ransacked the city in 1555, the Castle of the Royal Force was built to protect the city.

Havana became a major stopping point between the newly discovered Americas and ancient Europe. In the 1600s, Havana was a major shipbuilding port.

Old Havana is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic city has five...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Ever since Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928 until his death in 1961, he felt an intense connection with the people and culture of Cuba. Hemingway lived at Hotel Ambos Mundos during the 1930s, and began, wrote, and finished several novels there. Today, you can see some of Hemingway's belongings in Room 511.

Hemingway was a frequent patron at El Floridita, famous for its daiquiris....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles

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