Clicky

LATEST
Hacienda Campo Rico Carolina Beach Pine Grove Beach Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena Isla de Cabras Joyuda Lagoon Cayo Luis Peña Casa Roig Ole Curiosidades Boqueron Beach San Juan Bay San Juan Gate Monserrate Beach La Mina Falls The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Gallery Galleon Punta Higuera Light House Coqui Water Park The Capitol of Puerto Rico Biaggi & Faure Fine Art Gallery Combate Beach Caguas Botanical Garden Guanica Dry Forest Shacks Beach Mosquito Pier Desecheo Island Plaza Palmer Brava Beach Vieques National Wildlife Refuge Guajataca Forest Reserve Casa Cortes Blue Beach Tropical Agriculture Research Station SailCaribe Yacht Charters Siddhia Hutchinson Fine Art Gallery Domes Beach Yokahu Observation Tower The Poet’s Passage Tres Puertas Gallery Blue Waters Caribbean Adventures Sandra Farms Coffee Tamarindo Beach Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park Isla De Vieques Playa Caracas Sandy Beach Sun Bay Beach Carlos Rosario Beach Media Luna Beach Caracas Beach Zoni Beach Flamenco Beach Tres Palmas Marine Reserve Icacos Island Humacao Nature Reserve Puerto Rico Convention Center Museo Del Niño Bioluminescent Bay Cueva Ventana La Cueva Del Indio Carabali Rainforest Park Playa Sucia JungleQui Rainforest EcoAdventure Park Museo De Las Americas Castillo de San Cristobal San Juan Cemetery Cruz Del Vigia Plaza Las Delicias Parque de Bombas Isla Culebra Teatro La Perla Caja De Muertos Museo De Vida Silvestre Isla De Ratones Isla Palominos Teatro Fox Delicias Jobos Beach Condado Beach Castillo Serrallés Casa Cautiño Fortín De San Gerónimo Guajataca Lake Tanamá River El Pozo De Jacinto Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center Crash Boat Beach Piñones State Forest Paseo De La Princesa Albergue Olímpico La Guancha Boardwalk Casa Blanca Museum Puerto Rico San Juan National Historic Site Ponce Cathedral Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo Las Cascadas Water Park Hacienda Buena Vista Museum of Art of Puerto Rico Camuy Caves

Places To Visit In Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza
December 9th, 2013

Swashbuckling swordfights, thundering cannons, and the cries of the victors and the vanquished are what faintly echo in the imagination, as you walk the oldest executive mansion that has been continuously in use in North and South America. Such is the historical and social importance of La Fortaleza (The Fortress), the very first fortification that was built in San Juan harbor in Puerto Rico.
 
Human Drama and Military Action
 
If all of life were only a stage, Puerto Rico and its history would be an astounding performance replete with heart-rending human drama and oozing with heart-pounding military action, of which La Forteza would be one of the focal points.
 
A circular tower and four immense stone walls were what made up the original fortification, as it was originally built between 1533 and 1540. By the end of the 16th century, a new tower was erected by the Spaniards. Their military saw it as a good vantage point versus the Carib Indians.
 
However, it turned out that it wasn’t the ferocious Caribs whom the Spanish had to be wary of, but the English, who invaded in 1598, and the Dutch who also attacked in 1625. Failing to wrest control of the fort, the Dutch decided to burn the city and everything else down to the ground, including the fort.
 
Where the Governor Lives
 
The fortress was rebuilt. In the process, the Santa Catalina chapel, which had originally stood outside the fortress, was demolished and became integrated with the walls of fortress. It is for that reason that La Fortaleza is also known as Santa Catalina’s Palace.
 
Fifteen years after the Dutch military’s debacle, the Spanish politicians and rulers of the time decided to make the fortress the official residence of the Spanish Captain-General of Puerto Rico. Starting in 1640, it became traditional for all who became the Governor of Puerto Rico to live in the fortress, a clear acknowledgment of the formidable strength of La Fortaleza. That tradition has never been broken, up to the present.
 
World Heritage
 
1846 saw the further enlargement of La Fortaleza and alteration of its street façade.
 
That was the condition of the fortress in 1898, when the last Spanish governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo De Ortega, was said to have stopped a grandfather clock at the exact time that Spain was defeated by the US during the Spanish-American War. For its historical and cultural value, the UNESCO listed it in 1983 as part of the World Heritage Site named “La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site”.
 
Mansion and Garden
 
What used to be a main point of defense against the marauding enemy is now a multi-room mansion with an exquisite garden. It is only the first floor of La Fortaleza which is open to visitors, at USD3.00 for a 20-minute tour every Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
 
A tour guide provides a running commentary about the history and significance of the site. There are Spanish and English language tours, so, be sure about getting a tour in the language that you prefer.




This author has no description available.

Have Your Say

Comments are closed.

Browse Our Website

Latest Puerto Rico Articles

Hacienda Campo Rico

Hacienda Campo Rico

Looking for adventure in Puerto Rico? The next time you’re in San Juan, check out Hacienda Campo Ric[...]
Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach

For most people, their idea of a good vacation is to stay in a nice hotel-resort that is located rig[...]
Pine Grove Beach

Pine Grove Beach

If there’s a perfect beach for swimming in Puerto Rico that would have to be Pine Grove Beach. It’s [...]
Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art

Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art

On your next visit to the island, do not miss the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art which is an[...]
Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena

Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena

Ice skating in Puerto Rico? Most people would shake their heads in disbelief the first time they hea[...]