Fuerte San Felipe De El Morro
Fuerte San Felipe de El Morro - Discover an array of historical
sights and opportunities for natural adventures and quickly conclude that giving up the beaches chaise (at least
part of the time) may be a wise move.
Driving around the island gives visitors a taste of Puerto Rico's exotic beauty, while a visit
to Old San Juan reveals how thoroughly the island is steeped in history.
Watch a video of Fuerte San Felipe de El Morro now!
A walk through Old San Juan should
include a visit to Fuerte San Felipe del Morro in Spanish — is a sixteenth-century citadel which
lies on the northwestern-most point of the islet of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the fort, also referred to as "El Morro" or
"promontory", was designed to guard the entrance to San Juan bay, and defend the city of San Juan from seaborne enemies.
In 1983, the fort was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations and is part of
San Juan National Historic Site.
Over two million visitors a year explore the windswept ramparts and passageways making the fort one of Puerto
Rico's main visitor attractions.
Facing "El Morro", on the opposite side of the bay, a smaller fort known as "El Cañuelo"
complemented the fort's defense of the entrance to the bay.
Kids love to touch the El Morro's fort's cannons and explore the maze of dungeons,
towers and tunnels. A green esplanade just outside the fort — perfect for kite flying — separates it from the
historic town it was built to safeguard.
It is a sprawling, six-level complex of darkened, weathered sandstone that thwarted pirates
and invaders since it was built in 1539 and 1540 to protect San Juan and its harbor.
Fuerte San Felipe del Morro is positioned 140ft/43m above sea level, and is surrounded by an 18 ft
/ 5.5 m thick wall. El Morro is dotted with small, circular sentry boxes called "garitas". These garitas are unique
to Puerto Rican forts and have become a national symbol.
Where El Morro guarded against attacks from the sea, San
Cristóbal, a fort one mile to the east, was built to stave off land attacks. Finished in 1790 and covering 27
acres, the fort offers spectacular views and a chance to walk on the ramparts.
El Morro successfully repelled attacks from foreign powers such as the English (1595 and 1598) and
Dutch (1625). The British invaded Puerto Rico again in 1797, but no action took place at El Morro during that
It's last active fight occurred during a naval bombardment by the United States Navy during the
1898 Spanish-American War. The short war ended with the signing of Treaty of Paris. Spain ceded ownership of the
islands of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States.
El Fuerte del Morro and many other Spanish government buildings in Old San Juan then became part of a large U.S.
Army post, called Fort Brooke.
In the early 20th century, the U.S. military filled up the esplanade, or green
space in front of "El Morro" with baseball diamonds, hospitals, officers' quarters, an officers'
club and even a golf course.
During World War II the United States military made another notable addition to the fort by adding a prominent
sentry tower in the center of the main fort. This tower is the tallest point on the structure, 180 feet (55 m)
above sea level, and flies both the U.S. and Puerto Rican flags.
A top of the fort stands a Light House which is still used today. Today, Fuerte San
Felipe del Morro is one of Puerto Rico's main tourist attractions and museums, displaying artifacts that
Spaniards, Indians and Africans of that time used.
Other exhibits display ship models as well as time lines and historical narratives. As you walk around the fort you
will see various things that were used in that times.
There is a chapel inside the fort that still has the benches and the pictures inside of it. Restored to the
beauty it once was.
It is now one of the numerous light houses around the world that people come to see. Tourists and locals enjoy flying kites in the ocean wind on the acres of grass
surrounding the castle.
Visit hidden passages, aim your camera at the cannons that still guard the harbor, and gaze over the 60-foot tall
walls at the ocean.
Stroll on the lawns where soldiers once marched and watch the children flying their kites in the afternoon sea
breezes at El Morro, in Old San Juan.
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