Old San Juan

Old San Juan is the historic colonial section of Puerto Rico. It is a small narrow island that is connected to the rest of the island by a bridge. In the 1500s, Old San Juan was were the rich Spanish colonials lived and were the government buildings were established. The city was constructed similar to places in Spain; so, all the buildings are wall-to-wall with each other and the road is made of pavers. Its nickname is “Walled City” because of military purposes and for protection from invaders and pirates. It, actually, has huge, strong walls bordering the area.


Old San Juan is the home of very important buildings and landmarks of Puerto Rico. These places include government buildings, churches and military forts. The most important government building is called “La Fortaleza”; it is were the governor lives and has his office. Other government office buildings include the Department of Finance and the Supreme Court. There are various Catholic churches and small chapels surrounding Old San Juan, but the most renowned one is “Capilla del Cristo”. Also, the Cathedral of San Juan is the largest and most beautiful in Puerto Rico and it was the second cathedral in the Americas (the first being in Dominican Republic). The Spanish, as the bases of their soldiers, constructed the military forts. The largest and most important forts are “Castillo San Felipe del Morro” (also known as “El Morro”) and “Castillo San Cristóbal”. They are now museums that still contain the canyons and other military devices used in their times. “El Morro” has a huge lawn in front of it so people go there to have picnics and fly kites.


“La Fortaleza”

"El Morro"

“El Morro”

Nowadays, Old San Juan as a whole is a historical landmark and tourists are walking around enjoying the history and culture of it. There are always people selling jewelry and artwork that they made, musicians playing in street corners, and an overall happiness. Personally, I love going to Old San Juan because it is beautiful and I feel like I am in another country.


5 thoughts on “Old San Juan

  1. Wow, Old San Juan is interesting. When I think of Puerto Rico all I usually think about is the nice weather and the beaches. I didn’t really expect it to be such a cultural hub. I also found it interesting that it was constructed similar to the cities in Spain because they were the firs settlers of Puerto Rico. Well written!

  2. It sounds like a really nice place to visit. I feel like I’d be completely immersed in the culture. I also love military history so that makes it even more appealing to me.

  3. The architecture found in all those islands and in Central and South America typically has a large Spanish influence. Spanish architecture has a certain appeal that works well in these more tropical areas. Old San Juan clearly has a lot of cultural importance in Puerto Rico.

  4. This place looks really cool and unique I would like to visit it someday. My friend actually went here last summer on his trip to Puerto Rico so I am kind of familiar with it, but after reading this post I know the history behind it.

  5. Its extremely interesting to learn more about Puerto Rico and its history each week as you blog about it. Its interesting how the culture of Puerto Rico relates to Spain as well as the city being walled to keep out intruders. I can’t wait to learn more about Puerto Rico’s culture and history in next weeks blog!

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