The Watch

Convent of Santa Clara of Assisi

Havana, Cuba

1996 World Monuments Watch

The whole of historic Havana is in dire need of conservation. Restoration and reuse of the abandoned third cloister of Santa Clara of Assisi, the city's first convent, will be instrumental in catalyzing an effort to conserve the old city. The cloister is in a near ruinous state due to structural failure, infiltration of water through the roof and up from the ground, and insect attack. Because the Centro Nacional de Conservación occupies the other two cloisters, which have already been restored, this demonstration project will add to the resources already established at the convent for conservation of the Cuban heritage. Except for a brief interval as a hospital during the British occupation in 1762, the building served as a convent through 1921. The government bought the buildings in 1923, and since then, they have housed government offices and storage facilities.

Since the Watch

Two of the three cloisters of the Convent of Santa Clara of Assisi have been restored. One of them now houses the Centro Nacional de Conservación, Restauración, y Museología (CENCREM), the organization in charge of restoring artifacts from all over Cuba; the other contains a small building that is used as a hostel with accommodation for 25 people. December 2014

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