Castillo San Cristóbal
Located fifteen kilometers or so from our Sinsemilla San Juan dispensary, the Castillo San Cristóbal is an extraordinary piece of history. From its origins as a fortress built by Spain, to its present standing as one of San Juan’s many historical treasures, this is one of the most famous fortifications in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is perhaps not quite as famous as El Morro Castle, but the Castillo de San Cristóbal is nonetheless one of the most significant examples of the long, endlessly compelling history of the territory.
A portion of the fort can be found within walking distance of the San Juan’s Capitol Building. If you plan to visit this landmark for yourself, there are a few interesting facts you are going to want to keep in mind.
Facts About San Cristóbal
You will find this impressively massive structure, believed to be the largest constructed along the American continent, along the northeast part of Old San Juan. If you happen to be in the area, it is a rather difficult sight to miss. San Cristóbal was constructed over a roughly twenty-year period, starting around 1765, and concluding at some point in 1785. At the time of its construction, it was a good two hundred years more modern than the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which was already considered to be iconic by that point. The sheer ancientness of El Morro is impressive enough, but the structure doesn’t have quite the grandeur of the Castillo San Cristóbal. You can still feel that grandeur, visiting this remarkable destination in the present.
Among other benefits, San Cristóbal protected the sprawl of land that existed east of Old San Juan. The fortress quickly proved its usefulness. In 1797, it proved to be vital at repelling an invasion effort by no less a conqueror and explorer than Sir Ralph Abercrombie. This can be attributed to a construction model that emphasized what is known as defense-in-depth. Several powerful layers define the fort. Each one was fortified to be a near-impossible task for those who wished to destroy it. When you repeat such measures a number of times, you can begin to see why the Castillo San Cristóbal has stood the test of time.
It is also important to note that despite being a fort for all intents and purposes, San Cristóbal is technically a castle. This is obviously why it is referred to as such in the name. It is essentially a castle in design, but more along the lines of a fortress in its actual purpose.
The only significant changes to its layout came from the United States during the Second World War. Bunkers and pillboxes constructed from concrete were established. They stand to this day, with some arguing that their presence detracts from the overall historical integrity of the structure.
Visiting San Cristóbal In The Present
Visiting this castle in the present couldn’t be simpler. It is part of an area known as the San Juan Historical Site. The area also includes the previously-mentioned El Morro. Admission to the area is just $5. Open from 9 am to 6 pm, you can opt to explore the park all on your own, or you can choose to take a guided tour. The best option really depends on personal taste. However, going on a guided tour may give you the opportunity to enjoy aspects of the fortress that would not be made available to you otherwise. The opportunity to check out the amazing tunnels beneath the fort is a good example of what we are talking about.
This fortress is a true historical and architectural wonder. Make it a point to discover its long association to Puerto Rico.