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  History

Our Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa was founded on August 15th, 1511 by Diego Velázquez. Almost five centuries after the emerging of the ´´´Ciudad Primada´´ (Primate City), still impresses the visitor with the natural beauty of its surroundings and the hospitality of its citizens.
It has a notably well preserved system of military fortifications from where numerous attacks from corsairs and pirates were rejected which took place during the beginnings of the Spanish colonization.
Baracoa received a shield on September 20th, 1830 from the hands of the Queen Cristina de Hasburgo y Exiqua Tamet, si tempore primas ferens. Its literary translation expresses: “Of all the Cuban cities, although small, it will always be the first one in history” The original one is a kept in the Matachin Museum where there is a replic, carved with timber obtained from the nearest forests, work of the famous sculptor, Quintiliano Joa. Meanwhile, Christopher Columbus, as the priest Bartolomé de las Casas said: “He placed a big crossat the entry of that port which I think named the Puerto Santo, above some rocks”.
In that place, converted into the firs bishopric of Cuba thanks to an official order emitted by Papa León X. Las Casas guided the first religious meeting before the cross of Santa Parra to the already mentioned crossed. They even attributed it the gift of making miracles. And even from Spain people began to ask for pieces of wood of the divine relic that is why it started to become smaller. To avoid that it continued decreasing until disappearing one day, the religious institutions gathered to reach an agreement with the priest of the church and they placed silver veneers at the endings of the cross.
Nowadays, it is situated in one of the altars of the church. The most ancient relic of Christianity in Cuba.
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