El Templete

CA3
Museum / Cultural center
Architectural style: Spanish colonial
CA Ranking: 3
Open: 9am-6:30pm daily
Admission: CUC 1
Baratillo, esq. a O’Reilly, Habana Vieja
  • Built in 1827, El Templete commemorates the first mass and town council held in the city, at the foot of a ceiba tree that grew on the northeast corner of what would soon evolve as the Plaza de Armas.

    The structure imitates a small Greco-Roman temple, with Doric columns and classical pediment, although the pineapples that crown the pillars of the railings tropicalize the Neo-Classical severity. Construction was completed in 1828 in honor of Queen Josefa Amalia, wife of King Fernando VII. Its architecture represented the transition of the period, from the 19th-century ‘Cuban baroque’ to the Neoclassical style.

    The small interior houses three large oil paintings by the French artist Jean Baptiste Vermay, a disciple of David and founder in 1818 of the San Alejandro Arts Academy in Havana. Vermay’s paintings depict the first mass, the first council, and the blessing of the Templete on its inauguration.

    Every year, on November 16, the day on which Havana was founded, a procession of the city’s 16th-century maces – normally kept in the Museo de la Ciudad – makes its way around the Plaza de Armas to the ceiba to commemorate the city’s founding. Superstitious habaneros (and that means most everyone) queue up all evening to walk around the sacred ceiba tree three times and make a wish in the belief that the orishas will honor their wish.

     

    Admission details: CUC 1 (incl. guide), free under-12s

    
  • Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula

    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula  LH 5

    In 1664 the Presbyter of the Cathedral of Havana, don Nicolás Estévez Borges, ordered the construction of a chapel devoted to Saint Francis of Paola (founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims) …

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar  LH 5

    Opened in 1953, this is Cuba’s second largest church, which is visible for several blocks due to its vast dome built in Roman-Byzantine style. The Jesús de Miramar church boasts 14 large mural paintin …

    Edificio Bacardí

    Edificio Bacardí  LH 5

    The first and main exponent of art deco in the city belonged to Emilio Bacardí and was the home to his famous rum company. After winning the contest held by Bacardí, architects E. Rodríguez, R. Fernán …

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)  LH 5

    History & architecture Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former pa …

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam  LH 5+

    The north-west corner of the square is occupied by the 18th-century Casa de los Condes de Peñalver, which has at different times served as a post office, a bank and a school. Today, it houses the Cent …

    Plaza Vieja

    Plaza Vieja  LH 5+

    The 16th-century Plaza Vieja has always been a residential rather than a military, religious or administrative space, and is surrounded by elegant colonial residences, combined with a few very strikin …

    Paseo del Prado

    Paseo del Prado  LH 5+

    In colonial times, this promenade received several names, including Nuevo Prado, Alameda de Extramuros, Paseo de Isabel II and Paseo del Prado, and with cuba’s independecne, it became Paseo de Martí. …

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced  LH 5

    Built between 1865 and 1867, this is arguably one of Havana’s most lush churches. The temple stands opposite a small square and its façade, constructed in Baroque style, features the principal door wi …

    Almacenes de San José

    Almacenes de San José  LH 5

    This former harborside warehouse was built in 1885 and is considered the oldest depository in Old Havana. The sober and imposing façade that looks out onto the city conceals the building’s steel struc …

    Quinta Avenida

    Quinta Avenida  LH 5+

    Initially called Avenida de las Américas, Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) stretches from the tunnel that connects it to Calzada Street, in Vedado, to the Santa Ana River, in the locality of Santa Fe. Co …

    « 2 of 22 pages »