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St Peter's Church, Matanzas

The Heritage Department of Matanzas has nominated Apostle St. Peter’s Church to the National Restoration Award. This religious institution was designed by architect Daniel Dall Aglio, designer of the Sauto theater as well. It was inaugurated in May 14 1870.

It is located in the heights of Versalles neighborhood and has an excellent view. The building is neoclassicist and its main facade is oriented toward the spot where Matanzas City was founded. Due to its architectural elements, it is regarded as the most important work of the XIX century in Cuba.  

It was erected on grounds donated by a rich farm-owner and funded by Mrs. Maria Josefa Santa Cruz de Oviedo’s contribution of 100 000 gold pesos. The main wing of St. Peter’s Church recreates, in a lesser scale, his Vatican peer. This was effectively accomplished by Italian designer Daniel Dall Aglio, who came to Cuba when he was only 25 and left behind many impressive works.

The temple has 3 wide and short wings. The one in the center has a cannon-shaped arch and the side wings are edged. There is a small dome above the cross-section. The two towers, although smaller in size, have noble proportions. They unfold in a gradual and upward plastic concept, where the lower body is totally flat. The central one has square compartments and the last one has pilasters and embedded frontons that make up the pyramidal cover.  
Apostle St. Peter’s Church     

Dall Aglio’s indoor design was plain and simple. The higher shrine, made by sculptor Timoteo Garcia, stands out as the focal point.  The artist was assisted by master bricklayer Bartolome Borrel.
The indoor light holes, conveniently placed in both sides of the central vault, provide great brightness. A wood-carved representation of the Calvary stands to the right of the higher shrine. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Cuba. The central figure, Jesus in the Cross, dates of the XVIII century.
The other images were added after it was brought to Matanzas: Mary, Mary Magdalene and Apostle John.
The restoration of the central shrine took no less effort. It is a painting that shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to St. Peter. The author was painter Florentino Martinez.
The piece is church patrimony since its foundation and was restored at the workshops of Havana City Historian’s Office.

Source: Radio Rebelde

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