The University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the oldest educational institutions in Latin America. Founded in 1728, the university was originally a religious institute until it was secularized in 1842. Moved from Old Havana to Vedado in 1902, perched on top of the escalinata, a flight of granite stairways, most of the university’s buildings were built between 1904 and 1940. The most recognizable statue at the university is the Alma Mater, depicting a woman with her arms opening wide in a welcome gesture. The statue was cast in New York and designed by Czech sculptor Mario Korbel.
Aside from its neo-classical architecture, the Montané Anthropological Museum in the mathematics department at the university has an extensive collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts, including the Idolo del Tabaco, the Idolo de Bayamo and the Dujo de Santa Fe. The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to noon.