University of Havana

Discover the University of Havana in Vedado, Cuba, see where many Cuban minds develop and learn its history

University of Havana
University of Havana
© Nicole Dugré

The Universidad de La Habana (University of Havana) was founded by Dominican monks from the Order of Preachers in 1728, and secularized in 1842. The university was originally located in Old Havana, but was moved in 1902 to Vedado to this Neoclassical construction from the second quarter of the 20th century.

This university is the oldest in Cuba and one of the first in America. Its building was declared a National Monument in 1978.

 

Universidad de La Habana
Universidad de La Habana
© Bri
Monument to Julio Antonio Mella
Monument to Julio Antonio Mella
©Soegtrop

It currently has more than 60,000 students studying 32 different degrees. World-renowned figures have studied here such as Fidel Castro, Félix Varela or Enrique José Varona, among others.

At the top of the central stairway a majestic sculpture of the Alma Mater can be seen. Nearby, in Plaza Ignacio Agramonte Square, a tank captured by Castro’s rebels in 1958 is on didplay. Night concerts from the stairway are often put on for young people.

Right in front of the tank is the Librería Alma Mater Bookshop, and on the left, the oldest museum Cuba, the Felipe Poey Natural History Museum, founded in 1874. It exhibits lots of stuffed specimens of Cuban flora and fauna from the 19th century.

A little bit further on is the Montané Anthropology Museum, with an interesting collection of Precolumbian indigenous objects, including a wooden Ídolo del Tabaco (Tobacco Idol) from the 10th century.

Both museums open September through July from 9:00am to 12:00pm and Mondays through Fridays from 1:00am to 4:00pm. The entrance fee is 1 CUC per museum.

At the lower end of the stairway of the University of Havana is the Monument to Julio Antonio Mella, dedicated to the student leader who founded the first Cuban Communist Party in 1925 and was assassinated by the order of Machado in Mexico City. This is one of the most well-known parts of the University, as other than the monument, there are black and white portraits of Mella on display, hanging on walls in the park just in front of San Lázaro.

More information:

Location:

Calle L on the corner with San Lázaro, Vedado, Havana - Cuba.

Ticket Price:

1 CUC for the Felipe Poey Natural History Museum; and 1 CUC for the Montané Anthropology Museum.

Opening Hours:

Both museums open Mondays through Fridays from 9:00am to 12:00pm and from 1:00am to 4:00pm September through July.

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