San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico (from the Spanish San Juan Bautista,
"Saint John the Baptist") is the capital and largest municipality in Puerto Rico. As of the 2000 census, it has a
population of 433,733, making it the 42nd-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. It was
founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico City").
Puerto Rico's capital is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, now in the Dominican Republic.
Several historical buildings are located in San Juan Puerto Rico; among the most notable are the
city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La
Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.
Today, San Juan serves as one of Puerto Rico's most important seaports, and is
the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center.
The population of the metropolitan area , including San
Juan and the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño,
Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, is about 2
million inhabitants; thus, about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this metropolitan area.
The city has been the host of numerous important events within the sports community, including
the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games, 2006 World Baseball Classic and the
San Juan's climate is tropical marine and enjoys an average
temperature of 82 °F (28 °C) during the year, although 90 °F (32 °C) or higher temperatures are often felt
during the summer, especially if the winds come from the south. In the winter, temperatures can drop to the 60s,
though the average winter low is 71 °F (22 °C).
The coldest temperature ever recorded was 60 °F (16 °C) on March 3, 1957, and the hottest was 98 °F (37 °C) on
October 9, 1981. Rainfall is well-distributed all year, but the months of February, March and April are the
During the Spanish colonial times most of the urban population resided in what is
now known as Old San Juan. This sector is located on the western half
of a small island called the Isleta de San Juan, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges
and a causeway.
The small island, which comprises an area of 47 mi² (122 km²), also hosts the working class neighborhood of Puerta
de Tierra and most of Puerto Rico's central government buildings, including the Commonwealth's Capitol.
The main central part of the city is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets
and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. Sections of the old city
are surrounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and notable forts.
These include the 16th century Fort San Felipe del Morro and 17th century Fort San
Cristóbal, both part of San Juan National Historic Site, and the 16th century El Palacio de Santa Catalina, also
known as La Fortaleza, which serves as the governor's mansion. On January 23, 1984 both
of these edifications were catalogued as being part of humanity's cultural patrimony.
Due to technological advances after World War II in the development of the
airliner coupled with the island's climate and natural setting, has transformed San Juan, Puerto
Rico into the springboard for tourism around the island, and has made the rest of the Caribbean known throughout the world during the last
Today the capital boasts numerous hotels, museums, historical buildings, restaurants, beaches and shopping centers.
There are a lot of attractions, for example: Old San Juan, Ocean Park,
Isla Verde and El Condado.
Places and monuments emphasized in tourism campaigns consist of: Old San Juan, promoting the historic nature of its colonial buildings and
narrow streets covered by adoquine, a blue stone cast from furnace slag; they were brought over as ballast on
The numerous restaurants and art galleries in the zone are frequently visited by visitors. The local universities
are promoted as historic places, most notably the campus of University of Puerto Rico (UPR) located in Rio Piedras, which is the oldest
university in the island being founded in 1903.
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