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The viejo San Juan

Destinations 19/09/2023
Streets of Old San Juan
Today from Park Royal Hotels & Resorts we will discover “Viejo San Juan” which is nothing other than the name by which the district of San Juan in Puerto Rico is known, which is located on an islet connected to the main island of the state. through bridges.

This city is well known for its cobblestones and colorful streets wherever you go. It is also characterized by the large number of churches and public squares among which we can see the Cathedral of San Juan where the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is located. All this beauty and historical wealth have formed a unique place that, in fact, is already recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Wait no more and visit Old San Juan during your stay with us at Park Royal Homestay Club Cala Puerto Rico.

The oldest city in the United States

Although Puerto Rico is considered legislatively free, it is actually an associated state of the United States, which is why, historically, this place with more than 500 years of history is today considered the oldest city in the United States.

Foundation of the city

Between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish arrived in a tropical place in Central America inhabited by the Taíno Indians and called "Borikén" (which is why Puerto Ricans are also known today as "boricuas") led by Juan Ponce de León. Upon his arrival he founded the city of Cáparra, whose name arose in honor of his ancestry from Cáceres in Spain.

Years after its foundation, Cáparra was transferred to another place on the island due to the poor conditions of the original settlement and ended up being located on the aforementioned islet and taking the name “Puerto Rico” referring to a similar port in the Canary Islands. Finally, the name of San Juan was added to end up being called “San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico”.

The walled city

San Juan de Puerto RicoSan Juan de Puerto Rico is surrounded by a wall that was used to defend against attacks by enemy ships and armies.

This wall took more than 100 years to finish, since construction began in 1634 and it was not 100% finished until 1782. Its thickness is about 20 feet (approximately 6 meters) and to this day it remains one of the greatest attractions in the area.

Places of interest

The Fortress

The Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as "La Fortaleza" is the first fortification to be built in San Juan at the beginning of the 16th century and was also used to defend against enemy attacks. This fortress was only invaded twice, once by the British and once by the Dutch.

The Fortress of San Juan

Currently, the curious thing about this building is that it is used as the residence and work offices of the Governor of Puerto Rico and is considered the oldest active executive building in the entire Western Hemisphere. Although it is a functional building today, guided tours for tourists are also organized to learn about the history of this place.

Princess Walk

The Paseo de la Princesa is a path that runs along the walls of San Juan but was built later, back in the 19th century and in honor of the Princess of Asturias of that time (Isabel II) who later would become Queen of Spain. Princess Walk

This walk allows you to take a tour of Viejo San Juan, taking in many of its most historic attractions and enjoying its old streetlights, trees, fruit carts, benches, and street performers. Undoubtedly a unique path that you can enjoy both as a family and as a romantic getaway and that concludes at the Raíces Fountain, a sculpture that represents the combined heritage of the Tainos, Africans, and Spanish.

The Gate of San Juan

This is the main entrance of the 5 that exist to the city of San Juan, it was built in 1635, so it is also the oldest gate of the walled city.

If you go to the door you can read an inscription in Latin that dictates the following: "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini", that is, welcome those who come in the name of God. It is a very important and historical point on the island, which is why many tourists come every year to take pictures entering the oldest city in the United States.

The gate of San Juan

The Morro de San Felipe

The Castle of San Felipe del Morro, also known simply as “el Morro” is a fortress located in the bay of San Juan and which began to be built in the 16th century to defend the city from enemy maritime attacks, although they were building additions to keep up with the military technology of the time until the 18th century.

The Morro de San Juan

In 1983 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and today it is one of the main attractions in all of Puerto Rico, as it retains incredible historical importance and is full of preserved items from the area's mixed conquests and ancestry. Every year more than 2 million visitors walk through "El Morro de San Felipe".
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