A Historical Treasure: the Cruz de Parra
Among the many interesting and unexpected findings in researching Baracoa was to learn that the oldest artifact connecting Christopher Columbus to Cuba is the Cruz de Parra, the cross he planted on the shore of Baracoa in December, 1492. Below is a replica of the cross which stands today at the presumed original spot.
The Cruz de Parra is the only one remaining from the reported 29 such crosses that Columbus left in the discovered territories that he claimed for the Spanish Crown. Besides its mention in the historical records kept over the centuries, proof of its authenticity lies in two recent scientific reports: it has been carbon dated to the period of the Spanish Conquests in the Americas and it is made of wood found in Cuba. Now, the Cruz de Parra is reverently displayed in a glass case in Baracoa's Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in the center of town. It is considered both a national and international historical treasure.