The current city of San Juan de los Remedios is one the first Spanish villages founded in Cuba during the colonization period in the XVIth century. Its foundation took place on May 3rd, 1513 but it was transformed at first into a private property of a conquest captain and rich Spanish commissioner named Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa. This man had enough influence upon the court and the main representatives of the American monarchy for receiving the privilege of transforming that town and its surroundings into a private feud with no government at all. Some years later, he constituted his own town council, which made Remedios be considered the Eighth Colonial Village in Cuba though it had been founded before its contemporaries. At the beginning, that community was named “Santa Cruz de la Sabana de Vasco Porcallo”, taking into account the foundation day (May 3rd : the day for the holy cross on the catholic calendar). “Sabana”, because of the aboriginal population over there. The name changed into San Juan de los Remedios when the first local government took possession on July 24, 1545.
The most distinctive element in the region is the well-known party “Las Parrandas”, popular parties held every year and attended by people from all over the island. These festivities are so remarkable that we may find a museum dedicated to this phenomenon in the very city at present. The Museum of the Remedian Parrandas, founded in April, 1980, gathers all the memories from this famous celebration and preserves its patrimony, pictures, documents, models; clothes, musical instruments and handicrafts related to these secular parties can be seen on its spaces.
Remedios has a very outstanding square surrounded by lovely trees. This square is unique in the country because it has two catholic churches, they are one in front of the another one and they are known as “Our Virgin of the Good Voyage”(Nuestra Virgen del Buenviaje) and the main parish church “Saint John Baptist”(San Juan Bautista). Here, we find all the altars covered with gold and there is a showcase with a statue of the Immaculate Conception, which is said to be the single image of the Virgin Mary pregnant all over the world.
Moreover, we could say that Remedios is well characterized by its irregular streets, with great eaves, which protect the walkers from the intensity of the sunshine and call our attention to the walk deeper throughout the ancient downtown. Another treasure of the village is the museum dedicated to the glorious musician Alejandro Garcia Caturla who was born there in 1906. This peaceful place keeps numerous items related to his artistic career.