Parish Church of San Juan Bautista de Los Remedios
The Parish Church of San Juan Bautista, located in the heart of Remedios, is composed of the main church, Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista, and a chapel known as Ermita del Buenviaje. The two religious structures are magnificent examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the Caribbean. The history of the main church dates to the late sixteenth century, but the current architectural core was constructed in the first half of the eighteenth century in a Moorish Renaissance style with baroque features. It is renowned for its polychrome coffered ceiling and gilded altar. The neoclassical bell tower was added in 1850, and a second level to the sacristy in the early 1900s. Ermita del Buenviaje is a single-nave neoclassical chapel with a bell tower, but reflects Moorish and Spanish influences. A chapel occupied the site as early as the sixteenth century, though the current design dates to 1819 and was rebuilt in 1867 after a fire.
The main church was declared a National Monument in 1949, and the same designation was extended to the entire town of Remedios in 1980. The bell towers of both the church and the chapel define the landscape of this historic urban center, and the Christmastime festivities celebrated around the two, called Parrandas, are emblematic of the enduring community connection to this religious complex. However, deferred maintenance and severe weather have led to rainwater leakage, progressive deterioration, and structural instability in both the main church and the chapel. Ermita del Buenviaje was deemed unsafe and has been closed since 2000. A plan for long-term stewardship is desperately needed to ensure the future of the buildings and their role in the community.
Since the Watch
A restoration workshop took place at the site on September 17, 2012, organized by the Diocese of Santa Clara, the Technical Department of the National Monuments Council in Remedios, Fundación Amistad, and WMF. Following the workshop, a restoration project was inaugurated on October 4, 2012, when the local community provided funds and labor to repair the roof and clean the interior and the garden of the Ermita del Buenviaje. March 2013
Watch Day 2012
At the Parish Church of Remedios, Watch Day events included a two-day workshop in which heritage experts discussed the preservation and sustainability of the site. Activities for younger residents included a drawing contest, viewing of a Watch 2012 exhibit, and guided tours of the church.