The Raíces Fountain of Old San Juan

Old San Juan, the historic colonial section of the Puerto Rican city of San Juan, is rich in the history and culture that shaped this fascinating country. One of the suggestions for visitors to enjoy Old San Juan is by means of a walking tour incorporating all the landmarks of this charming part of the city, including the magnificent Raíces Fountain, also known as the Roots Fountain, which is situated on the Paseo de la Princesa.

The Raíces Fountain is considered to be one of the most romantic spots in Old San Juan, particularly when the setting sun casts its shades of copper and gold across the water in the bay outlining the dramatic silhouette of the bronze statues. The terraced decks near the fountain are perfect for sitting and contemplating the ever changing scene, and frequent musical performances add to the charm of the area.

The Raíces Fountain, which was completed in May 1992, was designed by architect Miguel Carlo to commemorate and celebrate the New World’s 500th anniversary. This collection of bronze statues honoring Puerto Rico’s mixed African, Spanish and Taino/Amerindian heritage, is represented as a ship being steered out into the open sea with leaping dolphins leading the way to a bright 21st century future. The picturesque San Juan Bay serves as a backdrop to the statue, adding an interesting dimension to the ship at sea concept.

Many Puerto Ricans who identify themselves as descendents of the Tainos have recently formed groups who have been active in calling for recognition of their tribe. A 2002 study using the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 800 Puerto Ricans to examine pre-Columbian migrations to the Caribbean revealed that more than 61% of the Puerto Rican population has Taino mtDNA. The conclusion of the study is that the largest components of the genetic pool of Puerto Ricans are, in descending order, European/Caucasian, Amerindian/Taino and African.

While some may identify closely with their ancestry, as the Raíces/Roots Fountain so beautifully depicts, Puerto Ricans are united by a love for the country they call home. If you have the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico be sure to take a sunset walk along the Paseo de la Princesa of Old San Juan and enjoy the sight of the magnificent Raíces Fountain.