San Juan National Historic Site, Castillo San Cristóbal
Castillo San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. When it was finished in 1783, it covered about 27 acres of land and basically wrapped around the city of San Juan. Entry to the city was sealed by San Cristóbal’s double gates. After close to one hundred years of relative peace in the area, part of the fortification (about a third) was demolished in 1897 to help ease the flow of traffic in and out of the walled city.
Visit & explore the Old San Juan area
Castillo San Cristóbal stands guard at the eastern gate, the land entrance, to the walled city of Old San Juan. Construction on San Cristobal began in 1634 and finished in 1790, although modifications were made well into the 18th Century. Its better-known sister fortification, El Morro, was designed to protect the city from attacks by sea, whereas San Cristóbal guarded from enemy approaches by land. Enjoy a walk through the fortification, peer through cannon enbrasures and visit sentry boxes where half a millennium ago Spanish soldiers stood watch.
If you love to photograph spectacular views, San Cristobal is a goldmine for you, with its panoramic view of the coast from Old San Juan to Condado and beyond. Covering 27 acres, San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. See where the first shots of the Spanish-American War were fired and be sure to visit the overlook for the Devil’s Sentry Box or the “Garita del Diablo,” from which, according to legends, soldiers mysteriously disappeared.
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