St. Christopher Fort – One of Puerto Rico’s Several World Heritage Sites
The Castillo de San Cristóbal or St. Christopher Fort is a massive fort that was built by the Spanish in the city of San Juan. The structure extends across 27 acres in a fascinating pattern that makes it an attraction in Puerto Rico which is well worth a visit. In 1983 Puerto Rico's Castillo de San Cristóbal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site so be sure to explore this fascinating fort whilst vacationing here. The fort was originally designed to guard San Juan but it is now just an interesting tourist site.
Construction began on the impressive Spanish fort in 1634. A fortified wall, Fortin Del Espigón, was built on the northeast of the city. Eventually the wall encircled the whole of Old San Juan. Over time the St. Christopher fort grew. The main area of the fort consists of hornwork with three fortifications standing before it. These were Trinidad Counterguard, San Carlos Ravelin and Santiago Ravelin and all three were surrounded by a dry moat. The fortifications of Castillo de San Cristóbal looked out over the Plaza De Armas. Walking across the Plaza De Armas you will see the El Abanico which is an arrow-shaped fort. Guarding the sea and the land were the batteries of Santa Teresa and La Princesa. The Caballero gun platform stands as the tallest construction of Castillo de San Cristóbal. Construction was finally completed on the large fort in 1783, the double gates keeping the city safely guarded. Indeed the extensive fortifications held the British at bay in 1797. Each of the units making up Castillo de San Cristóbal were joined by tunnels and were able to survive independently should any of them be taken by enemies.
In 1897 the authorities decided to tear down a section of the fortification following a century of peace so as to facilitate traffic flow. Visitors to the city of San Juan can freely visit Castillo de San Cristóbal. Here you will find the main plaza, guardhouse and quarters for troops. You can also explore the grand tunnel system. During World War Two an artillery observation post was built and this remains standing. You can stand on the Caballero Cavalier for a spectacular view. Also interesting to see are the cisterns below the main plaza which would hold rainwater up to 716 000 gallons. Exhibits have been set up with military clothing and 200lb mortar shells. Three flags stand tall on Castillo de San Cristóbal representing Puerto Rico, the United States and the “Cross of Burgundy”. For an adventure into the past of San Juan you should definitely visit Castillo de San Cristóbal.