Day by Day

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Picture Time II

Yesterday we went with a picture from Korea. Today, we'll go with Puerto Rico.

In Old San Juan, you'll see the two castles that protected the city for centuries. El Castile del Morro, and El Castile de San Cristobal. El Morro is the more famous of the two, because it directly guards San Juan Bay. It is over six stories tall, built out of rock, and just the sheer look of it is imposing when you're sailing up close to it.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera for that shot. I did, however, take a tour of El Morro, and that time managed to bring my camera with me.

One of the most famous symbols of Puerto Rico is la garita. La garita are the Spanish watchtowers that were built along the entirety of the huge wall that protected the city of Old San Juan. They are featured prominently in El Morro and San Cristobal, in artwork all over the island, and even in my unit's patch. Here is a view of the entrance to one -



For someone of my size, it's rather small and cramped. For someone who was part of the Spanish Army in the 1500's, it's rather roomy. These guard posts helped keep San Juan defended for four hundred years, until the Spanish American war and the invasion of the American Army.

As a bonus shot, here is a view of the entrance to San Juan Bay, shot from El Morro.



In the distace, you can see a spit of land. That land held another fort. Due to the way the city was planned, the only real way to get to the heart of the city was through San Juan Bay. And the bay was guarded by El Morro and this other fort. Their cannons would literally shred any fleet that was foolish enough to attack it. Your only other choice was to land a mile or two away from San Juan, and then march up to it's imposing walls and try to lay seige.

I'll say it again - for close to four-hundred years, nobody was able to conquer Puerto Rico. That's longer than the history of the United States of America.

Anyways, that's two photos and a history lesson, all in one day. I'm continuing my vacation now.

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