Discover Old San Juan – Home to the El Morro, Travel Destination

It is easy to imagine that you have been transported back in time when you walk the streets of Old San Juan. As your shoes clatter away on bluish cobble-stone streets it is not hard to imagine elegantly clad men and women gracing the balconies or walking beside you. Old San Juan was originally built to act as a military stronghold. Though the sturdy old military fortifications still stand, it has now developed into a charming residential area with a strong Spanish influence.

Panoramic photo of Old San Juan street in Puerto Rico

Old San Juan is the capital and most crowded city in Puerto Rico. Established in 1521 by Juan Ponce de León, who named it City of Puerto Rico (Rich Port). The capital of Puerto Rico is the most seasoned city under U.S. locale, yet a few group contend than St. Augustine, Florida, established in 1565 is the most seasoned city in the mainland United States.

The historical backdrop of San Juan starts quite a while before its authority establishment, in 1493, during his subsequent journey, Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico. He named the island “San Juan Bautista”, to pay tribute to John the Baptist. Yet, was not until 1508, that the Spanish government named Juan Ponce de León as the main legislative head of the island. He established the first settlement in Caparra, presently known as Pueblo Viejo, behind the nearly land-bolted harbor just toward the west of the current metropolitan region and the city immediately turned into Spain’s most significant military station in the Caribbean.

Old San Juan today has numerous plazas that act as an enjoyable place of meeting for locals and tourists alike. It also has numerous churches and statues that visitors can view at their discretion. The most outstanding feature of Old Sand Juan, however, has to be the massive military fortifications that still stand. Impressive walls still surround parts of the city and there are numerous old forts and barracks to visit.

One of the most impressive forts is El Morro. Located on the furthest precipice of Old San Juan, it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. It has six levels, a network of underground tunnels and it stands an imposing 140ft above the sea. Its 18ft thick walls defended it successfully against numerous attacks and invasions. No longer in use as a fort, it is now a national historic site which is open to the public daily.

You can take a leisurely foot tour through Old San Juan on any day of the week. It offers an attractive alternative to socializing and sun bathing and is relatively inexpensive. Make sure you plan enough time though, because there is a lot worth seeing.

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