During your vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the best spots to visit is Castillo San Cristóbal del Morro. San Juan is very well known for its forts and this location is among the most popular and most visited of all the forts there. Castillo San Cristóbal del Morro is the largest fort that was built by the Spanish in the west hemisphere.
History of Castillo San Cristóbal del Morro
Forts are of significant importance in the history of San Juan and Puerto Rico. They were built to be a crucial line of defense in protecting the island against enemy attacks. Due to the immense wealth of the Caribbean islands, European ships often found their way to the San Juan harbor and would try to take it over. Spanish King Charles III ordered that San Juan become a “Defense of the First Order” and a large wall and smaller fort were made in addition to the fortifications of San Cristóbal and El Morrow.
Though El Morro guarded the bay, San Cristóbal protected the land east of Old San Juan. History showed that building a fortification that protected the city from a land invasion was a much needed security measure. In 1797, Sir Ralph Abercrombi led an invasion that was thwarted by the presence of San Cristóbal.
The San Juan Historical Site was established in 1949 and includes four of the major San Juan fortifications; Castillo San Felipe del Morro, San Cristobal Fort, San Juan de la Cruz Fort, and a majority of the large city wall. The United Nations declared the San Juan Historical Site as part of the World Heritage Site in 1983.
At approximately 150 feet above sea level, the Castillo de San Cristóbal is a large structure that spans across most of the northeast edge of Old San Juan. It was built in about two decades and is over two centuries newer than El Morro.
Because of its historical nature and significance, Castillo San Cristóbal del Morro provides tourists with a chance to experience both a lesson in architecture and history. Staring from the parapet of San Cristóbal, you will be able to see most of Old San Juan laid out before your eyes. Stepping inside one of the sentry boxes will even allow you to look out over the water.
Tourists are able to set up guided tours if they wish to learn more in depth information about the history of San Cristóbal and the San Juan forts. Admission for Castillo San Cristóbal del Morro is very inexpensive, making this an absolute must see attraction for history lovers and architecture enthusiasts alike.