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University of Havana

Stand on the steps of one of the oldest universities in the Americas, where former president and leader of the Communist revolution, Fidel Castro, once studied.

The University of Havana, or Universidad de la Habana as it is known in Spanish, is the largest center for higher learning in Cuba and, having been founded in 1721, one of the oldest in the Americas. View this Havana landmark, which is identifiable by its distinctive stone steps that lead up to the colonnaded main building.

Start your tour of the university at the main building where, half way up the monumental flight of steps, sits a bronze statue of Alma Mater (nourishing mother) crafted by Czech sculptor Mario Korbel. The steps themselves date to 1927 and were created during the reign of dictator Gerardo Machado.

Venture through the porticoes of the ornate main building, where you will find several frescoes created by Armando Menocal y Menocal. Each of the frescoes represents one of the university’s founding areas of study: Liberal Arts, Thought, Law, Literature, Science, Art and Medicine.

Soak up the scholarly atmosphere of the university, where alumni such as Fidel Castro, who studied law here in the 1940s, once walked the corridors. Today some 60,000 students, including many from overseas, study an ever-increasing number of subjects including politics, literature, philosophy, sociology and international relations.

Wander around the different university buildings to get a better understanding of the history and architecture. While it was originally founded as a religious institution, and known as Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo de la Habana, it changed its status in 1842 to become a secular, royal and literary university. Originally located in Old Havana’s Villa de San Cristobal, the building moved to Vedado in 1902 and its buildings were constructed throughout the following decades.

Find the main building of the university in Plaza Cadenas where it rises unmistakably above the city in all its architectural glory. Regular buses from around the city stop in front of the university. No trip to Havana is complete without setting eyes on this important part of the city’s historical landscape.


Guide to Exploring University of Havana


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Iberostar Parque Central Rs17,152
Iberostar Parque Central

Iberostar Parque Central

Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja, Havana
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Old Havana, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Paseo de Marti and Malecón. Plaza Vieja is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

    Hotel Sevilla Rs9,803
    Hotel Sevilla

    Hotel Sevilla

    Trocadero No 55, Old Havana, Havana, Havana
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old Havana, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Bodeguita del Medio and National Capitol Building. Plaza de Armas and Plaza Vieja are also within 15 minutes.

      CasavanaCuba Boutique Hotel Rs3,860
      CasavanaCuba Boutique Hotel

      CasavanaCuba Boutique Hotel

      301 Avenue of the Presidents Floor 11, entre 13 y 15, Vedado, Havana
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in El Vedado, this guesthouse is within 3 mi (5 km) of Cuban Art Factory, La Bodeguita del Medio and Plaza de Armas. Fort of Saint Charles is 4.2 mi (6.8 km) away.

        Melia Cohiba Rs13,616
        Melia Cohiba

        Melia Cohiba

        Paseo Entre 1ra y 3ra, Vedado, Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in El Vedado, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Malecón and 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from University of Havana. Museum of the Revolution and Great Theatre of Havana are also within 6 mi (10 km).

          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana Rs11,403
          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana

          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana

          Calle 19 N 101 e/L y M Vedado, Havana, Havana
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in El Vedado, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Coppelia Havana and Malecón. Plaza Vieja is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) away.

            No Limit Hostel Havana Rs820
            No Limit Hostel Havana

            No Limit Hostel Havana

            Calle N #408 - Apartamento 601, Edificio América, Vedado, Havana
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in El Vedado, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of University of Havana and Malecón. Plaza Vieja is 2.2 mi (3.5 km) away.

              ELEGANCIA SUITES HABANA Rs8,908
              ELEGANCIA SUITES HABANA

              ELEGANCIA SUITES HABANA

              Calzada # 454, e/ E y F Vedado, Havana, La Habana
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in El Vedado, this guesthouse is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from University of Havana, and within 3 mi (5 km) of National Capitol Building and Museum of the Revolution. Havana Cathedral and Plaza de Armas are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment 2 Rs3,096
                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment 2

                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment 2

                Ronda 17, Apto 26, Havana, Havana
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in El Vedado, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of University of Havana and Malecón. Plaza Vieja is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) away.