El Morro, or, to give it its full name, Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, is a sixteenth century fortress guarding the entrance to San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico.
Situated on a promontory at the entrance to the bay, the thick walls and 360 degree views give El Morro a commanding position.The fort, which is similar in design to many other Spanish forts of the era, has seen its fair share of action, including a failed attack by Sir Francis Drake in 1595. It was also the place where, in 1915, the U.S. fired their first shots in World War I, when they stopped an armed German supply ship from leaving the bay.
El Morro was an active fort right up until 1961, when the US military withdrew and it became part of the National Park Service. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983, and was used by Stephen Spielberg as a movie set for his film, Amistad. It is now one of Puerto Rico’s leading tourist attractions, with several million visitors every year.
I visited El Morro a long time ago – in the intervening years, the lighthouse tower has been rendered and painted in a similar fashion to the restored archways above. I remember the fort being beautifully situated, but also a bit lonely, the weight of history in its thick walls. I hope to visit the Caribbean again one day – I’ve said before that it’s a place full of stories, and I think this old fortress would have plenty to tell.
Thank you for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!