On September 30th, I had the pleasure of starting my 8 day tour of Cuba. Here are some photos of my introducetion to Havana. I saw no military in my entire eight days. Che dominates the worship scene along with Camilo Cienfuegos- another hero of the Revolution. Surprisingly, the Castros don’t appear to enjoy the same worship status as these two.
After visiting the Square with the buildings adorned with Che and Camilo- we passed the Portuguese embassy on our way to the Colon Cemetery which is one of the largest cemetery in the world. 60 blocks in size and 138 acres. Lots of gorgeous pure Italian marble. The most important people in the history of Cuba are buried here . It opened in 1871. There are still 40-50 burials a day. 2.5 million people are buried here -the same population as currently living in Havana now. They recycle space by cremating remains after 2 years.
The most popular grave is that of a 23 year old woman who passed away in 1903. She died during the delivery of her baby. The dead child was placed on her feet. When the grave was opened some time later, the child was in his mother’s arms. Her husband went to her grave every afternoon for 17 years and tapped the gravestone with a bronze knocker that is on it and screamed for his wife Amelia to wake up. She is known as La Milagrosa ( The Miraculous Woman).
Hundreds of people put flowers on her grave daily and pray for her to help them with their children or love affairs. After you tap the brass knocker and pray to her you are expected to follow the tradition of walking away from her grave backwards to avoid turning your back on the white statue of Amelia.YES – I did so as well.