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Why are Wishes made to the Knight of Paris? A miraculous statue

Knight of paris

The fifties were marked by the continuous coming and going of a curious character who, wearing dark clothes and wearing long hair, illuminated the streets of Havana.

History with its inordinate twists wanted José María López Lledín to be remembered to this day as the gentleman of Paris, a character who was immortalized in photography, cinema and even in Cuban music.

Who was the Knight of Paris? Fate imprinted its steps on the streets

The sidewalks of Old Havana still remember his steps, those that, moved by a friendly smile and a dreaming spirit, caught the eyes of multiple city dwellers.

José María arrived in Cuba when he was just over twelve years old aboard the steamship Chemnitz, moved by the quixotic desire to pursue a better future and fleeing from the dictatorship in which he was plunged.aña, his native country.

The trades performed by the gentleman of Paris

Upon his arrival in the largest of the Antilles, he was linked to various jobs exercising trades:

  • In a flower shop,
  • a tailors workshop,
  • a book store and
  • as a messenger in a law firm.

After a lot of work and efforts, José María managed to work gradually as an employee in the restaurants belonging to the Inglaterra, Telégrafo, Seville and Saratoga hotels, among others.

Where he came to win the affection of his co-workers and many of the clients, who said they saw in him a slightly strange light.aña but warm at the same time.

Like a kind of spark that intoxicated you through the stories told by the curious man, those that acted like a hook that caught you, almost forcing you to return to the same place over and over again.

One turn in his life would change everything

In 1920 an unexpected turn in the fate of José María would turn his life completely upside down, it is about episodes of unjust imprisonment where he was accused of various crimes of which he pleaded innocent.

There was never any evidence that implicated him in the crimes, but his condition as a poor and migrant continually questioned his credibility.

The walls of the fortress of the Castle of the Prince were then, the first silent witnesses of the beginning of the ravings in the life of the since then baptized knight of Paris.

During his time in prison, he began to adopt new personality traits, displaying more refined manners, he used the pen to master exquisite calligraphy and had by then eliminated all kinds of fillers that overshadowed his eloquent speech.

Look who's coming around. The gentleman from Paris!

Upon leaving prison, the gentleman wandered through the city streets greeting everyone with excessive cordiality.

He would get on buses and make long journeys only to find a partner to talk to along the way, and when he found one, he would begin to narrate his life to the one he loved. añaday a magical but consistent touch of anecdotes that are somewhat fanciful, but undeniably pleasant to listen to.

His disheveled appearance, quite on the contrary, to what many can imagine, did not instill fear, because his sweet words made the observer completely forget how impressive his appearance was.

always accompaniedañaHe used to buy newspapers and magazine clippings, he slept in the parks and wandered around the port, the Paseo del Prado, the Plaza de Armas and the Church of Paula.

The knight returned the help given with love

He only accepted money and food from people who were familiar to him, to whom he offered any kind of handicraft made by his own hands, as a thank you.

The gentleman from Paris spent the last years of his life admitted to Mazorra, a mental health center today renamed the Comandante Bernabé Ordaz Psychiatric Hospital of Havana, where he was humanely welcomed under his condition of homelessness.

There he was hospitalized so that he could have a better quality of life, as other reasons did not merit his admission as he was a docile and sociable man.

Where does the Knight of Paris rest today?

After his death he was buried in the Santiago de las Vegas cemetery, years later Dr. Eusebio Leal exhumed his body and deposited his remains in the San Francisco de Asís convent.

Where in addition to resting, a statue cast in bronze is erected on the outskirts of the enclosure, representing him physically, this artistic piece also acts as a cult to his memory.

Do you know why the Knight of Paris is asked for wishes?

All the people who have visited the historic center of the city have come across the representation of such an iconic character.

As a result of the placement of this statue, a kind of religious cult was created where travelers make wishes to his figure by touching his beard and his finger, parts of the sculpture that are notoriously worn.

All of us who have come across the gentleman from Paris in our walk through Havana have shared our wishes in one way or another, and when we contemplate him it seems that he gladly listens to our anecdotes.

Sometimes it is common to see his statue adorned with flowers as payment for the fulfillment of the wishes that his spirit has gladly helped to grant.

  • Where is the statue of the Knight of Paris in Havana? It is located at the entrance to the Convent of San Francisco de Asís on Oficios Street, Old Havana, Cuba.

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