El Templete (Little Temple), Havana

El Templete (Little Temple), Havana

El Templete was built in 1827 to commemorate the site of the first mass celebrated in Cuba on November 16th, 1519. Its architecture represents both the more traditional 19th century Cuban baroque and a more modern Neoclassical style. Pineapples adorn the pillars on the railings and add a tropical flair.

The first mass and town council was held under the shade of a ceiba tree. Every year, on November 16th, a procession is formed to commemorate the city's founding. 16th-century ceremonial maces, usually on display in Museo de la Ciudad (Museum of the City of Havana), lead the procession around Plaza de Armas to the ceiba tree. Havana residents line up all evening to walk around the ceiba tree three times. This ritual is supposed to grant the wish of the supplicant. The original tree had deteriorated over time and was replaced with a younger ceiba tree.

Inside El Templete, visitors will find three large oil paintings by Jean-Baptiste Vermay portraying the original town meeting, first mass, and the temple's inauguration. There's also a bust of Jean-Baptiste Vermay, along with an urn containing the artist's ashes.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Havana. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

El Templete (Little Temple) on Map

Sight Name: El Templete (Little Temple)
Sight Location: Havana, Cuba (See walking tours in Havana)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Havana, Cuba

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Creating your own self-guided walk in Havana is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Ever since Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928 until his death in 1961, he felt an intense connection with the people and culture of Cuba. Hemingway lived at Hotel Ambos Mundos during the 1930s, and began, wrote, and finished several novels there. Today, you can see some of Hemingway's belongings in Room 511.

Hemingway was a frequent patron at El Floridita, famous for its daiquiris....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Discovered and conquered by Spanish colonists in the early 16th century, Havana has turned into a major religious center of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Although a communist regime is currently in power, many of the churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings have been preserved and still give a glimpse of the city’s religious heritage.

The old Havana Cathedral, located in a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Old Palaces Walking Tour

Old Palaces Walking Tour

Havana has been the seat of Cuba’s ruling gentry for centuries. Today, you can walk the streets of Old Havana and explore its palaces to get a glimpse into the city’s royal past. Although these structures now serve Havana’s citizens and visitors, they still catch your eye (and your camera lens!) with their architecture and history.

Start your trip with the ornate Presidential Palace,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The Spanish founded Havana in 1519. After French pirate Jacques de Sores ransacked the city in 1555, the Castle of the Royal Force was built to protect the city.

Havana became a major stopping point between the newly discovered Americas and ancient Europe. In the 1600s, Havana was a major shipbuilding port.

Old Havana is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic city has five...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


18 Uniquely Cuban Things to Buy in Havana

18 Uniquely Cuban Things to Buy in Havana

Rum, cigars and revolution have been, perhaps, at least until recently, the three most popular exports from Cuba. Luckily, with the embargo lifted (or soon to be lifted), those traveling to the U.S. might soon be able to pick up some of these (with the exception of revolution, perhaps) on their way...
Cuban Sweets and Pastries

Cuban Sweets and Pastries

On the tropical island where sugar cane is one of the main commodities along with the rum made of the very same sugar, and where the enormous abundance of tropical fruits make up a great deal of the local diet, it is only natural to expect the richness of dessert cuisine. Pair it with the strong...