Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán

Photo by Can Sarica.

Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán is part of the Tentative list of Cuba in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The set of buildings comprising the National Schools of Art, created in 1962, constitutes one of the most outstanding examples of contemporary Cuban architecture, with an acknowledged artistic value, reuniting testimonial values stemming from the historic moment in which it was built to serve as a training school for artists and is considered the most advanced example of an all-encompassing and multidisciplinary pedagogical and artistic project.

Map of Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán

Load map

The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

Write a review


Turkey - Canada - 11-Apr-24 -

Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán (T) by Can SARICA

The National Art Schools stand as remarkable architectural marvels, embodying the utopian optimism and revolutionary exuberance of the early years of the Cuban Revolution. Consisting of five distinct school building complexes dedicated to music, ballet, modern dance, plastic arts, and dramatic arts, these structures were designed by three visionary architects—Porro, Gottardi, and Garatti—using organic Catalan-vaulted brick and terra-cotta construction techniques. Their history is poignant and worth exploring on Wikipedia before your visit.

I was quite surprised to learn that only three members of have visited this site, despite it being on the tentative list for over 20 years. In contrast, Old Havana has been visited by 332 members as of the writing of this review. During my visit, I explored the School of Ballet and took a brief look at the School of Music and School of Plastic Arts from the outside. I paid 10,000 pesos (equivalent to $30 USD) to a taxi driver to take me to the School of Art, wait for me there for 30-60 minutes, and then drive me to Fusterlandia. On the return trip, I paid another taxi driver 7,000 pesos to take me back to Havana from Fusterlandia.

Initially, I attempted to visit the School of Plastic Arts. The taxi driver dropped me off at the entrance gate east of the school. Unfortunately, I was unable to gain entry like Zoe did, as the individual at the gate stopped me. It may have been due to the fact that it was a Saturday and there was no one around except me. Despite offering some extra money, I was asked to obtain permission from the Ministry of Culture to visit the building. Consequently, I only took exterior photos of the School of Plastic Arts from outside the fences.

Subsequently, the taxi driver took me to the School of Ballet, where the entrance is located slightly east of the Embassy of UAE. The fences here were broken, allowing easy access without any guard control. I spent approximately twenty minutes there taking photographs. I also observed the School of Music from the exterior. Although it was possible to cross the bridge and peek inside the School of Music, I refrained due to time constraints.

I believe that once inside the fences, one can easily visit all five building complexes. It seems that the fences primarily surround the main campus rather than separating individual buildings.

The visit felt more akin to an exploration you might find on rather than a traditional World Heritage site tour. The school, left unfinished and abandoned long ago, is now engulfed by tropical forest. While it undoubtedly possesses outstanding universal value, its current state is far from presentable and likely to remain unchanged. Despite this, my overall experience was highly positive. I felt a connection to the architects' vision and the enthusiasm of Fidel and Che in endorsing these ambitious plans. I wholeheartedly recommend this attraction to travelers who enjoy off-the-beaten-path adventures, particularly those fascinated by architecture or revolutionary history.

Zoë Sheng

Chinese-Canadian - 03-Feb-21 -

Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán (T) by Zoë Sheng

I'm biased towards great architecture (coming second after nature) and the National Schools of Art is no exception. Also, don't you just love a site that you can park right in front even in a country's capital, walk in and look around for 30-60 minutes and move on? Well then this site is for you. The guard did ask me if I study here because I walked in with my camera but he didn't really care as long as you seem nice and tell them what you are doing.

You can already see the brick domes peaking over the walls. I was hoping for something great, and while I wasn't disappointed with the marvelous designs, the bad news is that this place is pretty much on it's last leg. Built between 1961-65 and still incomplete of what it was intended to be like, it hasn't received funding to restore and maintain any of it's building in a long time. There was recently been some discussions of rescuing the schools but discussion lead to nothing because some people do not want to open the school to international students and others are afraid of privatization (this is communism after all). To sum it up, it doesn't look good.

A very enjoyable walk around campus, and if the Mexico City university is a WHS so I think this should easily get onto the list too. It does need to update it's criteria a little because it sounds more like a intangible cultural heritage at the moment and doesn't focus enough on the architecture that is supposed to encompass the schools and it's students.

Community Likes


Full Name
Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán
Structure - Science and Education
2024 Added to Tentative List

The site has 1 locations

Escuelas Nacionales de Arte de Cubanacán (T)


Community Members have visited.

WHS 1997-2024