When I was a kid my dad would drag me to the forts of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico to catch the light. He’d say, “ooouiii, look at that shot!” Then, this spectacular thing would happen between the image we saw in person and what he captured through a lens. We’d play with the shadows in the corridors to make ghost like effect and fly kites across the grassy lawns of El Morro. Somehow, his photographs have always looked just as beautiful as the real thing, and if there’s one thing that Old San Juan is, it’s beautiful.
San Juan’s National Historic Site is composed of the famous forts built by Spanish Conquistadors over the course of 250 years. It was the main port in the Caribbean and the way the Spaniards controlled access to the area. Needless to say, it was quite an important safety precaution turned into a beautiful Unesco World Heritage Site. Today, the forts are just as beautiful as ever. Quite honestly, they’re some of the best preserved of all the colonial cities and some of the most picturesque (your Instagram account will not be disappointed).
Composed of four main parts,the historic area spans through the entire city, covering the exposed land with walls and walls of fortresses and stone. Not pictured here is “La Fortaleza,” the home of the governor of Puerto Rico which is also an important part of the historic area. Plus, there’s always Calle San Sebastian, which is not only a significant part of the cities history but also the center location of one of Puerto Rico’s largest annual parties called Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian. You can’t forget about El Totem which towers over San Sebastian St. and El Parque de Palomas, home to dozens of pigeons looking over the Caribbean Sea.
Walking through Old San Juan is the only way to truly experience the beauty of the city. However, I’ll do my best to give you a little walk through in photographs.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Castillo San Cristóbal
Fort San Juan de la Cruz
The San Juan Gate and Surrounding Walls
All photography courtesy of Jerry Bauer, except one photo by Nestor Bauer (thanks talented family).