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Among the countless symbols of the Cuban capital there is one that, due to its history and tradition, constitutes one of the most deeply rooted rituals in the capital and Cuban people in general: The Templete.

The Templete is a Doric-style monument that marks the place where, according to the accounts, the first mass and the first town hall took place, since the foundation of the town of San Cristóbal de La Habana on November 16,1519.

This small temple, built in 1828, is located in the Historic Center of Old Havana, declared a World Heritage Site more than thirty years ago. Inside the chapel of this building the visitor can observe several works referring to the origins of Havana.

Among the elements in this building, to attest to the importance of the chosen space, the most relevant is the commemorative ceiba, which constitutes a sacred tree in different religions such as the Yoruba, and to which Havanan people come every year in search of prosperity and well-being.

As a tradition, every November 15th people wait for midnight in El Templete to go around the ceiba three times and make a wish, and in this way, celebrate a new anniversary of the city’s founding.

It is curious to know that, in March 2016, ceiba was withdrawn due to deterioration. The process of replacing the emblematic ceiba was an event for residents and visitors alike.

Undoubtedly, this traditional ceremony is an indisputable part of Cuban culture and idiosyncrasy. To witness and participate in this annual event is a fascinating opportunity and a way to connect with the roots of this Caribbean island.

Templete is surrounded of other important buildings as Castle of Real Force, Palacio of General Captains and also of an emblematic square: Plaza de Armas.

For visits: Baratillo street between O´Reilly and Enna. Plaza de Armas. Old Havana. La Habana. Cuba (23.140514, -82.349040). Telephone:+53 7 8668807

by: Lys Alfonso Bergantiño