El Templete


El TempleteEl Templete is a magnificent landmark in Havana, Cuba, that pays respect to the place where the foundation of the town of San Cristóbal de la Habana was erected in 1519. The monument consists of bust of Christopher Columbus and three canvases painted by Jean Baptiste Vermay. El Templete is a neo-classic building that boasts unique examples of colonial architecture.

Overlooking the harbor, this small Greco-Roman temple was inaugurated on 1828 in honor to Queen Josefa Amalia, the wife of Spain’s King Fernando VII. Step inside to view the three large hanging canvases, which symbolize the holding of the first mass, the first town council, and the blessing of the site. Amazing to see, these works of art by Vermay as he and his wife remains are located in an interior tombstone made of Carrara marble within the Templete.

El Templete is one of the city best attractions to tour, as its beauty and old traditions stands out. It also serves as a remembrance to mark the beginning of the Plaza and Havana when it was founded 1519. The marking of the city was achieved by the planting of a memorial Ceiba tree. However this was later replaced by the Column Cagigal in 1754. The only remainder of the Ceiba tree is in people’s memories.

Each year on November 16, thousands of Cubans visit this site to make three circles around the area where the tree stood. This spot is very sacred to Cuban as this was where the first mass and the first Council of Havana were celebrated. If you are in Cuba on this day, do not miss making three turns around the Ceiba tree, toss a few coins and with much faith, hope and love, good luck will be with you for the rest of your life.

After exploring El Templete wall through the streets of Havana for more exciting attractions.