A charming copy of a Doric temple, El Templete (The Pavilion, daily 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., CUC1 including guide) stands on the northeast corner of the Plaza de Armas. It was inaugurated on March 19, 1828, on the site where the first mass and town council meeting were held in 1519, beside a massive ceiba tree. The original ceiba was felled by a hurricane in 1828 and replaced by a column fronted by a small bust of Christopher Columbus.
A ceiba has since been replanted and today shades the tiny temple, whose interior features a wall-to-ceiling triptych depicting the first mass, the first town council meeting, and El Templete’s inauguration. In the center of the room sits a bust of the artist, Jean-Baptiste Vermay (1786–1833).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition