Those wonderful castles of Havana!

Ok so we like castles, actually I love them. Just one reason for me to visit a city is if it has a castle. Any shape really a castle on a hill or by a river is just wonderful. My old Havana has plenty and still in good shape. I like to tell you about them a bit.

In the first place the castle of the Real Fuerza was built, the oldest of all. After it were built at the same time the castle of the Morro and the castle of the Punta, to finally add the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. Not to leave out the more inland Castle of  Atares.

After the British took Havana in 1762, besieging the castle of Morro from the hill where today stands the Fortress San Carlos de La Cabaña, the Spaniards realized that they needed to build a new fort that complemented the defenses of the city . When they recovered the villa in 1763, the construction works of the fortress began. It was the most expensive building that financed Spain outside the peninsula, being also today the largest fortress in all of America. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Che Guevara installed his command center in San Carlos de la Cabaña. At this time numerous deaths by firing squads were also carried out. Today the San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress functions as a historic park, along with the nearby Morro Castle. Also inside is the museum of fortifications and Weapons and the Cultural center of Che Guevara, as well as restaurants and shops. But the most famous attraction is the cannon at 9pm or 21h, recreated by military dressed in 18C uniforms. It is reminiscent of the time when Havana was surrounded by ramparts, whose doors were closed every day at 21h.

Havana

Located at the entrance of the Bay of Havana, next to the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, the castle of the Tres Reyes del Morro was one of the strategic points of the defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction of the castle took place between the years 1589 and 1630, at the same time as the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta, an impregnable fortress up to 1762, when the English troops after a siege of about two months, managed to get the castle of the  Three kings of the Morro and therefore the city.  An irregular polygon that is formed by huge walls of 3 meters of height surrounded by a deep moat. The most emblematic point of the castle is the lighthouse of the Morro, it has illuminated the entrance of the boats to the bay from 1844. With a height of 30 meters, it is the ideal place to enjoy with the panoramic view of the Malecon of Havana, especially at dusk. Nowadays, it is part of the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park, along with the nearby fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, and inside it is the Maritime Museum.

Havana

Located next to the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of Old Havana, the Castle de la Real Fuerza is part of the defensive ensemble that the city had during the colonial era, next to the San Salvador de la Punta Castle and the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park.  The Royal Force was the first to be built in Havana, in fact it is considered the oldest stone fortress in America. The works began in 1558 and were terminated in 1577, although it soon lost its defensive function due to its remoteness from the bay. In 1588 became the residence of the Governor of Havana, later it worked as a national archive, army barracks or National Library. Today the castle of the Royal Force houses the Museum of the Royal Force and in its impressive moat the most important maritime museum in Cuba. The most striking element of the ensemble is the tower that houses the Giraldilla, it was added in 1634. It is a woman-shaped vane that is one of the symbols of the city, besides being the oldest cast bronze sculpture in Cuba. The weather vane that can be seen today on the tower of waiting (Torre de la Espera) is a copy, the original is kept in the museum of the city.

Havana

Located at the entrance of Havana Bay, San Salvador de la Punta Castle formed along with the castle of the three Kings del Morro, the main line of defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction works began in the year 1590, parallel to the works in the nearby Castillo del Morro. Because of this proximity, since 1630 when the cannon of  9pm (21h)  was sounded and the doors of the wall were closed, a heavy copper chain was stretched between the two forts to leave the access to the bay closed. In 1997 a deep renovation was carried out to install in this historic building the Castle Museum. At the moment you can see in the Castillo de la Punta a hall that tells the history of the fortress, as well as an exhibition of ships built on the island and a treasure room with objects that have been found in the marine depths.

Havana

Castle of Atarés, military fortress that integrates the defensive system of Havana built by the Spaniards to protect the city in the 18C. The castle of Santo Domingo de Atarés, began construction in 1763, together with that of the fortress of the Cabañas, due to the need to complete the defense of the villa in its vulnerable points. The Castillo de Santo Domingo de Atarés was the first of these new military buildings to be completed, specifically in 1767. On the Loma de Soto site from where the bay is partially dominated-, an irregular hexagon without bastions, crowned in its vertices by the same hexagonal openings, which corresponds to the forms used for these elements during the 18C. The castle has a large vaulted bomb-proof barracks in its enclosure for all the garrison that can contain cistern, warehouses and all the offices necessary for its defense. It was fitted with 26 cannons and its garrison had about 90 men.  The castle was named in honor of Count Ricla, whose father was the  Earl of Atarés. In addition, in complements this fortress has a covered road filling and a small Central square, surrounded by constructions for lodging, warehouses and other services, in whose roofs were conditioned platforms to establish the artillery, as well as a perimeter trench. Photo credit GUIJE.COM

Havana

The bay of Havana was heavily protected because after some mishaps the Spaniards learned to assembled the fleet with the gold of the Americas here, and then set sail for Spain with all the load and minimize the attack by pirates/corsairs and other powers.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here

Tourist office of Havana: Havana tourism

Tourist office of Cuba: Cuba Tourism

Hope it helps your curiosity for these castles in Havana of yesteryears. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

 

 

2 Comments to “Those wonderful castles of Havana!”

  1. I love castles too. Shame we can’t go to La Havana in the motorhome. I hear Cuban food is lovely too, to go with the beautiful music no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

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