An important historical marker for the municipality of Manatí, the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Church is one of the oldest to have been raised in Puerto Rico under Spanish rule. Although its origins are a point of contention among experts and residents, historic texts have identified the church as one of eight that existed throughout the island by 1645.
Its impressive stone structure was the result of expansion and reconstruction efforts completed in 1729. Nine years later, Manatí would receive the official blessing of the Spanish Crown, formally becoming a municipality.
Among the most salient pieces found in the church’s museum is the Stone of Pentecost, which represents the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Also worth noting are a replica of the church’s original Atrium’s Cross, which was moved to the town’s National Cementery; as well as the Mozarabic influences evident in its bell tower.
A marvelous example of Manatí’s varied town architecture and distant past, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Church was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1984.