The Sacred Walk & Drive - detailed description


Read more about religion in Cuba and about The Sacred Walk & Drive 

There has been an indigenous religion, that of Taíno Indians, but from 1514 onwards it was the Roman Catholic church that let the church bells ring. 

The rich Roman life established churches and cathedrals in order to give shape to their devotion. Without realizing it, the settlers imported from 1770 another religion from West Africa, that of the Yoruba (or Lucumí), imported as slaves to work on the tobacco and sugar cane plantations. Honoring their religion and traditions was forbidden by the Spaniards and the Yoruba were forced to reform.

During this church reform, they hear the stories from the Bible, which they modeled according to their own faith. They identify the Creator, the Biblical God with their supreme god (Olorun or Obdumare), angels and saints with the orishas who each manifest an aspect of the supreme God.
The biblical Mary is associated with Yemayá, orisha of the seas and fertility.

This fusion of religions is called syncretism. The Cuban variant is Santería or Regla de Ocha, and although there are clearly Roman elements, other rituals reign. During the ceremonies (Bembés) you’ll hear a different beat, after centuries of secret oral tradition Santería is unprecedentedly popular in Cuba. Almost everyone consults a Santería priest (Babalao) once in a while.

There are also smaller religious communities, including Russian Orthodox, Muslims, Jews, Bahá'í, and Protestants. Especially the evangelical communities are doing well. What all have in common is that they practice in a country that is officially atheistic.

In 1959, with the arrival of the rebels, the Catholic Church was banned. Only since 1998, after the first visit of Pope John Paul, Christmas is celebrated again on the island. 

We’ll go on a pilgrimage with a devoted guide that will explain more.

Lunchtime

The included lunch will be served in the restaurant of your choice (you can find the options here. The guide will say goodbye. Process your impressions at ease and refuel for the afternoon program.

At 02.30 pm (14.30 hours) the driver picks you up for a ride. Having seen this morning religious institution in the inner city, you’ll explore more of Havana. Board the classic car and take in what you see. 
The afternoon ride will take you to ...

Districts Old Havana and Centro Habana

Muralla, the name of the street that leads us to the train station, passing the Parque de la Fraternidad towards the Cuban Capitol.
Do not focus too much on the tourist attractions only, as you can find beauty in every corner.

Through the streets Reina and Carlos III we reach Centro Habana, one of the most populated districts. In the current urban pattern, Centro Habana is the center and connects the historic district with the (modern) neighborhoods. Hence the name. This is everyday Havana, Habaneros busy getting their groceries, busy with the most wonderful things, busy with their game of dominoes, less glamor here. Several families live in one and the house.

Continue to the iconic Plaza de la Revolución for a stop.

Districts Vedado and Nuevo Vedado

You'll pass Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón (1876), one of the most impressive cemeteries in the world. We are on our way to Almendares, the city forest of Havana.

District Miramar

A fairy-tale road leads to Miramar, the youngest district of Havana. You will be surprised by the luxury villas and mansions and by the lush gardens mostly with swimming pool. In the 1940s and 1950s - when Cuba was still the sunny backyard of the United States - the upper-class settled here. Broad avenues with hedges (still well maintained) and green parks recall those days.

Districts Vedado and Old Havana

Returning to the boulevard Malecón we cross the Vedado district, a residential area in the 30s - 40s, and still, but also a social-cultural center of the capital. It is cozy and lively. Green as well, with trees along the streets and with various parks. One is the John Lennon Park. 

Surprising, but in the first decades after the revolution, the music of the Beatles was banned on the island. Cuba made up for it by placing a bronze statue of John Lennon in a nice city park. It is a real pleasure to drive through Vedado and greet John. Imagine, you got a ticket to ride!

After this panoramic drive, we are back in the historical center, UNESCO World Heritage since 1982. Here ends this Classic City Drive, unless you want to be dropped elsewhere. 

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