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.

    
  • Jardín Botánico Nacional

    Jardín Botánico Nacional  LH 5+

    These 600-hectare botanical gardens feature approximately 150,000 examples of 4,000 different species of trees and bushes from all over the world. A tractor train ride around the park departs four tim …

    Almacenes de San José

    Almacenes de San José  LH 5

    This former harborside warehouse was built in 1885 and is considered the oldest depository in Old Havana. The sober and imposing façade that looks out onto the city conceals the building’s steel struc …

    Santa María del Mar

    Santa María del Mar  LH 5

    Santa María is the most popular beach among both Habaneros and visitors. It has lodgings, restaurants, watersports hire, grocery stores and a pharmacy. As with the other beahes, it boasts soft, white …

    Cámara Oscura

    Cámara Oscura  LH 5

    Located on the top floor of the eclectic-style early 20th-century Edificio Gómez Vila—the plaza’s tallest building (35 meters/115 feet)—on the northeast corner, the Cámara Oscura provides a 360-degree …

    Arte Corte (Papito’s)

    Arte Corte (Papito’s)  LH 5+

    Established about eight years ago, Arte Corte is a hairdressing salon that is also an “interactive museum” where the customer, while comfortably seated in a hundred year-old chair awaiting their turn, …

    Jardines de la Tropical

    Jardines de la Tropical  LH 5

    If you attend any of the concerts that are held here in an effort to save this place from the state of semi-neglect it has been plunged into for many years, it would be a good time to appreciate the m …

    La Zorra y el Cuervo

    La Zorra y el Cuervo  LH 5

    Probably the most well known venue for jazz in Havana, the ‘Fox & Crow’ offers an intimate environment in this basement venue notably marked by a red English telephone box at its entrance. Top jaz …

    Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas

    Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas  LH 5+

    This museum opened in 1964 and is housed in the house of José Gómez Mena, a mansion designed by the French architects P. Virad and M. Destugué in 1927. Gómez’s sister, María Luisa Gómez Mena, a wealth …

    Ivan Chef Justo

    Ivan Chef Justo  LH 5

    There is only one problem with Ivan Chef Justo and that is describing to people how to get there. Actually it is not that complicated, opposite the Museum of the Revolution on the Old Havana side. Con …

    Casa-Estudio de José Fuster

    Casa-Estudio de José Fuster  LH 5+

    José Antonio Rodríguez Fuster is a ceramist, draftsman, painter and printmaker. He has made illustrations for several publications, participated in a number of international symposiums and events, and …

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