El Cobre

Cuba’s Patron Saint, La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, is also the symbol for the deity “Ochun”, orisha in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria.  The sanctuary to the virgin is housed in a Basilica that stands dramatically atop a hill overlooking the village of El Cobre, founded in 1830.  According to legend, three native american brothers set out from the island in a small boat when a violent storm arose, putting them in grave danger.  As they prayed to the Virgin Mary, the skies cleared and they saw an apparition of the Virgin of Charity holding a child. Their lives were saved and the legend began. The basilica is home to many treasures and offerings of dissimilar origins.  Among the most interesting of these offerings is the gold medal that was presented to Ernest Hemingway when he won the Nobel Prize for his novel “The Old Man and the Sea”. El Cobre is among Cuba’s most significant and emblematic destinations for the religious, the seekers of deeply rooted cultural experiences and the traveler who appreciates the pure, natural beauty of Cuba’s lush, tropical landscapes and rich history.