San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

According to abbreviationfinder, San Juan is the capital of the associated state of Puerto Rico. It is known as “The Walled City”, and it is the oldest town, still inhabited, under the United States flag.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to the United States, has been denounced by the UN decolonization committee as a colonial case and its people have starred in a long struggle for the recognition of their independence. [1] . It is an archipelago formed by a large island and other smaller adjacent islands and has borders to the south with the Caribbean Sea, to the north with the Atlantic Ocean, to the east with the Virginia Pass, which separates the territory of the Virgin Islands and to the west with the Paso Mona, which separates the territory of the Dominican Republic. The capital of the country is San Juan de Puerto Rico. See population of Puerto Rico.


The city of San Juan is located in the northeast region of the coastal planes, north of Aguas Buenas and Caguas; east of Guaynabo and Bayamón; and to the west of Carolina and Trujillo Alto.


It is divided into two clearly differentiated cities, the old city and the new one, which is the rest of the capital, the result of the island’s two great cultural influences, the Spanish and the North American. In 1508 Juan Ponce de León founded the original establishment, Caparra, west of the current metropolitan area. The city was built on an islet there in 1521 by Juan Ponce de León.

The place that today is called Old San Juan was Ponce de León’s personal vision. He helped design the city, supervised the construction of its massive walls, and determined what structures should be built and where. Located on an easily defensible isthmus, Old San Juan is defended by two fortresses: El Morro and Fort San Cristóbal. Many of the sites in the Old City area were built in the 16th century and are national and world historical sites.


The old part, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is what has survived from the original metropolis founded in 1521. It represents the Hispanic, the traditional, the authentically Caribbean.

Old San Juan was built as a military site. The area covers 7 square blocks of narrow streets paved in cobblestones, lined with old colonial houses with their balconies and patios. The fortresses and walls of Old San Juan are among the best preserved in the hemisphere. The area is full of houses, churches and old squares that represent the most appreciated architecture of the Caribbean.

Social development

Places of interest

  • The Plaza de San José, in the upper part
  • El Morro (16th century fortress).
  • The 18th century Fort
  • Arms square
  • The White House
  • The Princess Walk
  • La Fortaleza (residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico).
  • The Cathedral of San Juan (from the 15th century and restored in the 20th).
  • The Dominican Convent, current headquarters of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

The new one

The New San Juan connects with the Old one through a narrow stretch of land, where the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood is located. The Dos Hermanos Bridge acts as a border between these two worlds that coexist day after day.

The modern capital is a city of futuristic architecture, where the main administrative, financial, commercial and service centers of Puerto Rico are located. Its sectors, Condado, Isla Verde, Carolina, Santurce, Hato Rey, Ocean Park, are a reflection of the current Anglo-Saxon rule on the island: crowded streets, huge concrete buildings, green areas, blocks of flats, residential areas and gigantic shopping centers.

  • Condado is the tourist center: its streets are full of great hotels, casinos and international restaurants, especially on Ashford Avenue.
  • Hato Rey, known as “the Golden apple”, with its bold modern buildings, is the most important financial and commercial area of ​​the city and the Caribbean. In this neighborhood is the popular Plaza de las Américas, the most important commercial center in the Caribbean, with hundreds of stores of all kinds.
  • Ríos Piedras, to the south, is the university area of the city. In this area, the José Lázaro Library, the largest in Puerto Rico, and the Museum of the University of Puerto Rico stand out. In Ríos Piedras you can also find the Botanical Garden and the San Diego street


It is a financial center, it is the largest processor on the Island of Puerto Rico and the metropolitan area has facilities to refine oil and sugar, rum or oil distilleries, produce cement, pharmaceuticals, metal products, textiles and clothing and tobacco. Its port is the most complex and used in the Caribbean and is the second largest in the area (after New York City). The city of San Juan is the home port for more cruise ships than anywhere else in the world. More than 28 cruise ships use San Juan as their home port.

Fortaleza and the San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico. World Heritage

The Fortress and the National Historic Site of San Juan in Puerto Rico, offers as a whole, a series of defensive structures were built at this strategic point in the Caribbean Sea to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan, between the XV and XIX. They represent a good sample of European military architecture adapted for the American continent.

Statement of significance

The main elements of the fortification of San Juan are La Fortaleza, the three forts of San Felipe del Morro, San Cristóbal and San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo), and a large part of the city wall, built between the XV and XIX centuries to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan. They are characteristic examples of the historical construction methods used in military architecture in this period, adapting European designs and techniques to the special conditions of Caribbean port cities. The Fortress (founded in the 16th century, and considerably remodeled in subsequent centuries) reflects the evolution of military architecture during its service over the centuries as a fortress, an arsenal, a prison, and the residence of the Governor General, and today, the Governor of Puerto Rico.

Justification of the registration

  • Criterion (vi): La Fortaleza and the San Juan National Historic Site, notably illustrate the adaptation to the Caribbean context of European evolution in military architecture from the 16th to the 20th centuries. They represent the continuity of more than four centuries of architecture, military engineering, and political history.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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