The Virgin of Caridad del Cobre is the saint of Cuba. Built in 1927, the current church is declared basilica in 1977. Each year, September 8, day of the Virgin, the pilgrims from all the island gather in the basilica. Hemingway deposited there its gold medal of the Nobel Prize 1954.
The Basilica is Cuba's most sacred pilgrimage site. It all began in 1606 when three fisherman found a wooden image of the Virgin floating on the Nipe bay in northeastern Cuba. It carried a label reading 'I am the Virgen de la Caridad'. The statue was brought to the copper mine at El Cobre and in 1608 the first hermitage was erected. A century later, a larger sanctuary was built, and the present shrine opened in 1927.
On May 10, 1916, Pope Benedict XV declared the modest image the patron saint of Cuba, and in 1936, it was elaborately crowned during an elaborate ceremony in Santiago de Cuba. Pope John Paul II recrowned the image during his celebrated 1998 visit to Santiago de Cuba.
In Santer?a (the Afro-Cuban religion), the Virgen de la Caridad is associated with the beautiful orisha Och?n, the Yoruba goddess of love and dancing, who is represented by the color yellow.