Universidad de La Habana

CA4
General sightseeing
Architectural style: Eclectic
CA Ranking: 4
L entre San Rafael y 27 de Noviembre
  • With Brother Tomás Linares del Castillo as its first rector, the first university in Cuba, the Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo de La Habana, was created in 1728. After several reforms, the university became a lay institution, changing its name to Real y Literaria Universidad de La Habana. Scientific studies gained importance during that time, making an impact on students such as Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Father of the Homeland; historian Antonio Bachiller y Morales; Felipe Poey, founder of the Real Academia de Ciencias Médicas; and economist and lawyer Francisco de Arango y Parreño, as well as on the thinking of the time in general. It was only after Cuba was free from Spain that it became the Universidad de la Habana.

    The construction of the Aula Magna, the main lecture hall designed by architect Emilio Heredia, began in 1906 and was completed in 1911; however, the construction of the different schools and other buildings in what is known as Colina Universitaria (or University Hill), spread out for several decades. Despite its prolonged construction period, it is noteworthy that coherence was maintained, although it was unfortunately affected in the 1960s with the addition of a number of new constructions. These new buildings were non-harmonious or even aggressive towards an environment that had been conceived with neoclassic elegance and monumentality. The dominant feature in the only higher education institution that existed in Cuba at the time was an eclectic historicism, lavish in columns, cornices and other classical elements, which were integrated in a group of buildings that are linked inwards by a central plaza, small squares and green areas. Declared National Monument, this walled complex includes an 88-step outside staircase and a central square. Additionally, it also boasts impressive works of art, such as the sculpture of the Alma Mater by Yugoslavian artist Mario Korbel, the seven murals by Armando Menocal in the Aula Magna and the gabled portico of the Rector’s Office.

    In addition, some of Cuba’s most notable teachers have worked at this university, including Enrique José Varona, Luis de Soto, Vicentina Antuña, Mirta Aguirre and Hortensia Pichardo.

    
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional  LH 5

    The International collection (Edificio de Arte Internacional) In 2001, after the new venues were chosen for the National Museum of Fine Arts, the international collection was installed in the former C …

    Tren de Hershey

    Tren de Hershey  LH 5+

    In 1926, Pennsylvania based Hershey Corporation built a 135-km-long electric railroad network in Cuba to transport product and personnel from Havana to Hershey’s sugar factory 45 km east of the capita …

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)  LH 5+

    Along the banks of the Almendares River is Parque Almendares, also known as Bpsque de La Haband (Havana’s Forest). This is the only urban forest in the city and is a recreational area for Habaneros th …

    Callejón de Hamel

    Callejón de Hamel  LH 5+

    The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buil …

    Plaza de Armas

    Plaza de Armas  LH 5+

    The early city was formally founded in 1519 on the northeast side of what would soon be laid out as Plaza de la Iglesia—named for the simple church that stood here until 1741, when it was destroyed fo …

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón  LH 5+

    History & architecture Declared National Monument in 1987, this is the most important cemetery in Cuba and its 57 hectares (10 acres) makes it the largest in America. According to Enrique Martínez …

    Plaza de San Francisco

    Plaza de San Francisco  LH 5+

    Right across Havana harbor, Plaza de San Francisco is one of the first three built in the 16th century. It takes its name from the Franciscan convent built there. The plaza became the site of a market …

    Plaza de la Catedral

    Plaza de la Catedral  LH 5+

    The last of the main squares to be created, this is one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots. Originally, it was named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain, but by the 18th …

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba  LH 5+

    In response to the increasing influx of American tourists in the late 20s (mainly those who were escaping Prohibition, in force in the United States at the time), the construction of a luxury hotel wa …

    The Malecón

    The Malecón  LH 5+

    The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a co …

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