An interesting tour of the Cuban castles
This Caribbean country consists of the main island of Cuba and several archipelagos. Cuba is home to one of the most fascinating cultures of the world, which can not be simply described. You have to feel it! Once you get there, you will be amazed by the local people’s lifestyle, especially if you are European. I am sure that after spending your holiday in Cuba, you will leave the country with an unforgettable experience. There are dozens of cultural or natural attractions and entertainment possibilities of which you probably heard or read. But have you heard of the Cuban castles? These aren’t really well-known attractions of the country, but worth visiting!
The Morro Castle
This spectacular fortress, guarding the entrance to Havana Bay, is also named “Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro“. It was designed by Juan Bautista Antonelli, an Italian engineer and it was built in 1589. At that time Cuba was under the control of Spain. The word “morro” in Spanish means rock which is easily visible from the sea, thus it serves as a landmark. Built to prevent the attacks on the bay, the fortress protected the harbor for many years. Morro fell in 1762 during the British expedition against Cuba. Therefore, in 1763 another fortress was built to prevent this happening again.
The La Cabaña Castle
As I mentioned it previously, it was built in 1763, after Morro fortress fell. It is located on the eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana. It was constructed under the control of King Carlos III. of Spain to prevent another capture of Havana, being completed in 1774. By the time, La Cabaña was the second largest colonial military installation in America. The castle is now part of a historical park, along with Morro Castle. It also houses several museums open to the public: the “Museo de la Comandancia de Che”, the “Museo Monográfico de la Fortaleza” (presents the castle’s development), the “Museo de las Maquetas” (features 3-D maquetas of each of Cuba’s castles) and the “Museo de Fortificaciones y Armas” (weapon exhibition). It can be visited every day from 10:00 to 22:00. (June 2012)
The Castle of the Royal Force
Also named the Castillo de la Real Fuerza is also a fortress located on the western part of the Havana Bay. It was built to defend the city against the attacks of pirates. The fortress is one the oldest stone fortresses in America. Today is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 2010, Castillo de la Real Fuerza became Cuba’s first maritime museum. It contains impressive exhibits of the country’s maritime past until the 18th century, also presenting the Royal Shipyard of Havana. This is considered one of the biggest shipyards in the world. It can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 18:30. (June 2012)
The San Pedro de la Roca Castle
The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca is located in the city of Santiago de Cuba, about 10 km southwest of the city center. It was designed in 1637, but finally completed in 1700. The fortress served as a defense against pirates. The San Pedro de la Roca Castle was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 as the best preserved building of Spanish-American military architecture.