El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico

El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s geographic position at the western edge of the Caribbean made San Juan one of the key frontier outposts of Spain’s West Indies dominions. Castillo San Felipe del Morro also known as Fort San Felipe del Morro or Morro Castle, is a 16th-century citadel located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Spanish used this fortress to guard the harbor of Puerto Rico and gateways between the Atlantic and Caribbean.

El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
The long walk leading up to the old Spanish fortress is very scenic with views of the ocean on both sides and large fields of green grass that are perfect for picnics, walking the dogs, and flying kites. The locals hold kite flying competitions and pageants on this very spot as it is an excellent place to catch the ocean breezes.
El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
There is a working lighthouse in the fort that stands exactly where the original one was constructed in 1846.

El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
Leading up to the El Morro is an old Spanish cemetery that sits just outside the fortress walls along a strip of cliff.

El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
El Morro was constructed in the early 1500s and is carved into the stone cliffs and built with think stone walls that could withstand the assaults of naval cannon fire.
El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
El Morro consists of many levels and to see it all involves walking plenty of stairs but the sights are worth the effort. Along the stairs were ramps constructed by the Spanish to make it easier to move cannons and other large supplies from level to level.
El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
Fortified viewing towers were constructed on all sides of El Morro.
El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
The viewing towers allowed for nearly 360 degree coverage by the soldiers posted in them.

El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
The exact number of cannons positioned in El Morro may not be known but estimates are in the hundreds. In 1595 Sir Francis Drake attacks El Morro unsuccessfully by sea. Gunners from El Morro shoot a cannonball through the cabin of Drake’s flagship.
Welcome to Puerto Rico Drake!
El Morro – Old San Juan Puerto Rico
El Morro has a large secure courtyard that the soldiers used as a gathering place to eat, attend church services, etc.
In 1898 Puerto Rico and with it El Morro become property of the United States as dictated in the settlement terms of the Spanish-American War.
In 1961 the US Army surrenders the fort to the US National Park Service to be preserved as a museum. 

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