Convento de Santa Clara de Asís
The Convento de Santa Clara de Asís (Convent of Saint Clair of Assisi, Cuba #610, e/ Luz y Sol, tel. 07/866-9327, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., CUC2), two blocks east of Iglesia y Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén, is a massive former nunnery completed in 1644. The nuns moved out in 1922.
It is a remarkable building, with a lobby full of beautiful period pieces. The cloistered courtyard is surrounded by columns.
Note the 17th-century fountain of a Samaritan woman, and the beautiful cloister roof carved with geometric designs—a classic alfarje—in the Salón Plenario, a marble-floored hall of imposing stature. Wooden carvings abound.
The second cloister contains the so-called Sailor’s House, built by a wealthy ship owner for his daughter, whom he failed to dissuade from a life of asceticism.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition