Authentic Caribbean: Church of Holy Trinity, Trinidad, Cuba

This historic church is home to one of Cuba's most famous religious icons


In the heart of Trinidad’s old town, the Church of the Holy Trinity overlooks the Plaza Mayor. It could be said that this neoclassical structure owes both its existence and notoriety to foul weather.

In the early 18th century, a powerful hurricane destroyed the first church that stood on this site. It took nearly 75 years to complete the grand edifice that would become one of Cuba’s largest churches. But it is not the architecture alone that has made this one of Cuba’s most noted religious institutions. The sanctuary is home to “El Señor de la Vera Cruz” (The Lord of the True Cross).

This 18th century wooden sculpture of Christ was originally to be shipped from Cuba to a church in Veracruz, Mexico. The ship carrying the statue was hit by bad weather when leaving Trinidad, and forced to return to port.

Twice more the vessel set sail, only to be rebuffed once more by bad weather, and forced to unload a portion of its cargo. Guided by what seemed an act of divine intervention, church officials decreed that the statue would remain in Trinidad, and to this day, the Lord of the Cross draws both the devout and the curios.