Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Oratorio de San Felipe Neri (Havana)

                One day while I was aimlessly wandering around Old Havana with no particular agenda, I came across the open doors of what looked like a church. Always happy to enter a place of worship and acquire another post for my blog while educating myself, I discovered that this wasn't a church after all. That is to say, it wasn't operating as a church at this point of it's existence.
                 The original building was erected in 1693 as the church of San Felipe Neri. Today it's known as the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri and houses an Opera Concert Hall. When it first opened it was for the religious order of the 'Congregation of the Oratorians' which was founded in Havana in 1666. During the English occupation of Havana the Oratorians were kicked out in 1762 (after only 69 years) and replaced by the Protestant denomination. The Oratorians were never to return. When the British finally left, the space was taken over by the Order of the Capuchins and then in 1887 the Congregation of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers took over eventually selling the building to Banco del Comercio SA in the amount of $ 268,000 in 1924....and so now it was a bank. It continued to be a bank after the Revolution of 1959, right up until the late 80's.
                  The Office of The Historian of the City of Havana finally took control of the building and in 2004 reopened it as the Oratory of San Felipe Neri offering it's visitors selections of classical and operatic concerts. It's worth a peek inside.

Located on the corner of Obrapía and Aguiar in Old Havana.

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