Sunday, February 13, 2011

FTV 2/13/11

In case cadets find themselves tired of the beaches, the history of Puerto Rico and San Juan specifically is incredibly rich. Old San Juan is where much of the rich history comes alive. The city was founded by a Spanish explorer in 1521 and the 16th century cobblestone streets around the city are a beautiful site as well as proof that this vibrant city is directly tied to its past. The city is full of narrow ways and one-way streets that slope north and uphill. One can simply walk in any direction to see something interesting.

Some wonderful attractions that cadets will be visiting are Casa Blanca and Casa de Ramon Power y Giralt. Casa Blanca is a wooden house built for the founder of San Juan, however he never lived there. His descendants lived there for 250 years. After that, it was home to the U.S. Army commander for Puerto Rico, from the end of the Spanish-American War to 1966. There are also two incredible fortresses: Castilla San Cristobal, Castilla San Felipe del Morro. Castilla San Cristobal was built between 1634 and 1785 and was used to guard the city from eastern land attacks. Castilla San Felipe del Morro was built by the Spaniards between 1540 and 1783 rising 140 above sea level. This massive fortress was used to protect the harbor entrance. Casa de Ramon Power y Giralt is the restored home of a naval hero of the 18th century, Don Ramon Power y Giralt. Presently, it is the headquarters of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.

There are dozens of museums and churches to visit such as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. This is one of the largest museums in the Caribbean. The city itself used to be completely surrounded by la muralla, the city wall. The 3.4 mile long sandstone wall is still there however the city has since expanded. The wall was built between 1539 and 1641 is 20 feet thick in some areas. Our third day of liberty is sure to be interesting and doused with San Juan's history.


Who was the Spanish explorer that founded San Juan?

What year did the Spanish-American War end?

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