Plaza de San Francisco (San Francisco Square)
Called San Francisco because of the convent next to it, this square was conceived in 1628, with the objective of supplying water to the ships trading with the metropolis. For many years it also served to stockpile the goods arriving from the harbor. Chronicles of the time say that the square had a busy commercial life. The people, in humble carts or afoot, sold and bought a variety of goods. It’s important to know that through this place the Spanish immigrants arrived to Cuba. Among the houses built around the plaza, as was already usual, the house of the Arostegui family, residence of the Captain Generals until the completion of the City Hall at the end of the 18th century, was erected.
During a long period of the Spanish dominion, the San Francisco Fairs took place at the square, beginning on October 3. It is said that around the year 1600 the first fountain of the city could be seen at the plaza. In 1836 it was replaced by a beautiful fountain made of white Carrara marble by Giuseppe Gaggini, under the good auspices of the Villanueva Count. This fountain is called Fuente de los Leones (Lions Fountain). At that time it was protected by an iron fence, as seen in some pictures of 1835. Later on, because it was feared that it could be damaged, it was relocated to the Paseo de Isabel II, nowadays Paseo de José Martí (or Paseo del Prado, as it was also called). Finally, the fountain was returned to its original location where it still remains.
Adress: Oficios y Amargura