( see photos of Old San Juan here)
San Juan was established in the early 1500s on top of a rugged cliff-faced peninsula by Spanish conquerors. Set at the entrance of the vast naturally-protected harbor, San Juan quickly became an important port town in the Caribbean.
It soon also drew the unwanted attention and exploitation of pirate ships and jealous European empires. To combat the problem, in the 1600s the Spanish built massive El Morro Fort at the tip of the cliff-lined peninsula. It commanded an impressive view over the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay, which it could successful protect from its vantage point at the very mouth of the bay.
Meanwhile, over the course of four centuries the town expanded with hundreds of handsome buildings, homes, churches and plazas in various period architecture popular in Europe.
Today a much larger metropolis has grown out around it, but Old San Juan still retains most of its original brick roads and historic buildings, including the two heavy stone forts, fine colonial shops, churches and plazas. Most have been beautifully-restored, often in vivid pastel colors, with an amazing variety of interesting architectural detailing.
Old San Juan is Puerto Rico’s most visited destination, and with good reason.
Here are 24 photos of stunning Old San Juan from my trip in April, 2016. Enjoy!
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