|Coat of Arms of the city of San Salvador de Bayamo|
Bayamo, capital of the province of Granma, cherishes, among many other pieces of history, the famous Iglesia Parroqial Mayor de San Salvador, dating back to the year the city was founded by Diego Velázquez in 1513.
Bayamo holds the titles of “National Monument”, “Birthplace of Cuban Nationality”, and “Cradle of the Revolution”. All important emancipation processes have started in this city, the first in 1868 with the Grito de La Demajagua, and the last one, the attacks to the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrison in Bayamo and Moncada in Santiago de Cuba, lead by Fidel Castro and the Generation of the Centenary, of the “26 of July” Revolutionary Movement.
|Carlos M. de Céspedes Garrison in Bayamo|
Events that have shaped and influenced our Cuban identity, took place in this magic city. One of the most important of those is closely related to this church. Exactly on June 11th, 1868, the music of what would later become our National Anthem was interpreted for the first time in this church. The music was composed by orchestra conductor Manuel Muñoz Cedeño, and the occasion was a Te Deum during a religious celebration. It was the result of a conspiracy of several patriots and the priest. Among the rebels was Perucho Figueredo who had already composed the lyrics on August 14th, 1867.
|Plaza del Himno Nacional (National Anthem)|
For three glorious months, Bayamo was the capital of the first free Cuba, until the Spaniards decided to punish the rebel city. They sent in great number of troops. Under the fear of falling into the colonial rule of Spain again, on January 12th, 1869, the Government in Arms and the whole community in an unparalleled revolutionary gesture decided to set fire to the town, and just leave the ashes to the oppressors.
|Ruins of Bayamo after the fire in 1869|
Most of the city burned to its foundations with the exception of some isolated houses and portions of buildings. The church also burned except for the Capilla de la Dolorosa. The chapel’s main altar and the statue of the Virgen de los Dolores had been built back in 1740.
|Details of La Dolorosa Chapel|
On 1919, the new Iglesia Parroquial Mayor was built. It is the only church in Cuba which displays a patriotic sign featuring a mural by Luis Desdangles of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Father of the Homeland blessing the Cuban flag, which dominates the view on top of the main altar.
|Interior of the Parochial Church|