Monday, February 22, 2016

Old San Juan: The Castillo San Cristóbal

After the zip-lining adventure it was time for some history.

We went into Old San Juan to visit the fortifications. We went to the eaatern of the two forts, Castillo San Cristóbal.

Begun by the Spanish in 1634 and completed in 1790, the Castillo San Cristóbal is the younger of the two forts with the El Morro fort that guards the western side of the bay begun in 1539 and completed in 1787. A wall surrounding Old San Juan, 20 feet thick also took well over a century to complete. The forts and walls guarded the strategic deep port of San Juan very well indeed.

Castillo San Cristóbal covers 27 acres and is the largest Spanish fortification in the New World.

The fort has multiple buildings with thick walls to resist cannon fire and impressive views.

At the battlements where the main firing battery used to be, there was a display of cannon balls, some of which could be moved around. The fuses of the balls had been removed and you could see their interior construction. Interestingly enough, there were no cannon on display on the walls or at any firing port. Only a lone cannon stood in the main entrance room to the fort.

The kitchen for the garrison when the fort was under US control was rather sparse.

The dungeon was indeed dark and dank, with drawings on the walls apparently from a Spanish captain that had been imprisoned there long, long ago.

It was an interesting self-guided tour and gave you an appreciation for the life of the soldiers at the fort from its construction through its being used by the United States as late as the Second World War.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

They are both an interesting tour, and no cannon since 'some' folks still take that stuff seriously...