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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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Hotel Sevilla Rs9,418
Hotel Sevilla

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    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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      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. Great Theatre of Havana and Museum of the Revolution are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      Hotel Deauville Rs3,255
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        Iberostar Parque Central Rs20,460
        Iberostar Parque Central

        Iberostar Parque Central

        Neptuno e/ Prado y Zulueta, Habana Vieja, Havana
           
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          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana Rs11,413
          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana

          NH Collection Hotel Victoria La Habana

          Calle 19 N 101 e/L y M Vedado, Havana, Havana
             
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            CasavanaCuba Boutique Hotel Rs4,907
            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

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              Casa Colonial La Terraza Rs2,347
              Casa Colonial La Terraza

              Casa Colonial La Terraza

              Padre Varela 207, entre Neptuno y Concordia, Havana, La Habana
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Centro Havana, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of University of Havana and Malecón. Plaza Vieja is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.

                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment Rs1,810
                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment

                Cozy Vedado Floyd Apartment

                Ronda 17, Apt 25, e/Neptuno y San Miguel, El Vedado, Havana, Havana
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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