Edificio Santo Domingo


in Habana Vieja

The block behind Plaza de Armas was the original home of Havana's university, from 1728 to 1902. The university was once part of a convent. The office block you see today was built by the Office of the City Historian in 2006 over the skeleton of an uglier 1950s office, the roof of which was used as a helicopter landing pad. It's been ingeniously refitted using the convent's bell tower and baroque doorway – an interesting juxtaposition of old and new.

Many of the university's arts faculties have reinhabited the space, while a small 1st-floor art gallery displays some priceless paintings by Cuban old masters such as José Nicolás de la Escalera, plus a couple of more modern works by Victor Manuel Valdés.