San felipe del morro puerto rico: San Juan National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

The Adaptive Nature of Puerto Rico’s Architecture – The Science Survey

How the constant change in the island’s architecture serves as an inspiration to the future.

Sarah Infante, Staff Reporter|July 22, 2022

I long for the island, where my grandmother went to primary school, where most of my relatives wish to be, and for the people who helped me learn to embrace my culture in its most authentic form. Puerto Rico has long been seen as a tourist attraction for many around the world since it is rich in history from those who first stepped on the island during the late 15th century. Alongside the people of the island, Puerto Rico’s architecture helps holds its vast history, as it carries the memories and events of the past. Providing a physical reminder of all that has occurred on the island, the architecture of Puerto Rico serves as a reminder to all that come of who has been and who is here now. 

Puerto Rico was first inhabited by the Taíno people, an indigenous group native to the Caribbean, in the 1400s. The Taíno were an intelligent community that focused on utilizing what the island had to give and creating a strong structured society. In terms of architecture, Taíno’s structures were fairly simple and focused on practicality more than aesthetics necessarily. The structures seen at the time were predominantly circular one story houses that were usually held up with columns on the inside, for extra support. 

Since they only have one story, they typically could house around 10 to 15 people, and with the use of straw and palm leaves, the houses were able to repel the sun and give the Taínos reprieve from the hot temperatures. Even though Puerto Rico’s urban spaces aren’t directly modeled after the Taíno’s homes, most of the concepts the Taíno people kept in mind can be seen in these urban spaces. Most homes in Puerto Rico make use of an open floor plan and structure the home around a sense of community and creating spaces for people to gather. 

Later, when the Spanish came to the Caribbean with the sole purpose to conquer, they brought new architectural styles consisting of Spanish Colonial, Gothic, and even Moorish architecture. One of few surviving examples of Spanish Gothic architecture is actually located on the island, a church adorned with a gold altar and famous frescos, known as Iglesia de San Jose. Overall, the architectural styles they brought over to the Caribbean were a representation of the preservation of Spanish culture and religion but also showed the interconnections Spain had with other peoples and cultures. Despite the Spanish bringing over new cultures and ideas, their conquering period in the Caribbean filled the island with violence and disease that nearly wiped out the Taíno people. 

Because Spain pushed for dominance over indigenous peoples, the island was forced to adopt these architectural styles as they had no regard for the culture the Taínos had built up. Thankfully, some of the Taíno’s original concepts for architecture have been pushed into the modern day, as many historians believe that Ponce architecture, also known as Ponce Creole, takes inspiration from the Taíno’s focus on community and adaptation to the island’s environment. Samantha Mayol ’22 reflects on this point. “My favorite part about visiting my family’s town in Puerto Rico, (Ponce), is seeing the ancient Taíno architecture still having its effects on modern buildings centuries later.”

Wanting to solidify their power over Puerto Rico, the Spanish began to develop several military based structures that would allow the Spaniards to control the island in whatever they saw fit. One of the most popular military structures that have been preserved is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, better known as ‘El Morro.’ Located in the current capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, El Morro is a fortification built facing the Atlantic Ocean, where the Spaniards would expect most of their enemies to come from. Working in conjunction with El Morro was also Castillo San Cristóbal, another fortress predominantly used to protect against land attacks in San Juan. Both military structures are now very popular tourist sites and offer insight into how valuable the Spaniards believed the island to be.  

Moving into the 20th century, when Puerto Rico was officially declared a commonwealth on July 25th, 1952, the island saw another wave of architectural influence, now from America. The United States at the time was going through many architectural revivals, including that of the Spanish Colonial and the Pueblo styled architecture. The country was also seeing an emergence of Neoclassical architecture that eventually was carried over to the island. Neoclassical architecture stems from the Greeks and Romans and is characterized by its emphasis on geometric forms and large scale. Being a fairly recent development in the United States, Neoclassical architecture has made its mark on Puerto Rico’s modern day architecture, especially that seen on main governmental buildings. 

Looking to the present, however, it is expected that the architecture in Puerto Rico is extremely diverse, considering the island’s history, and of course, different parts of the island are more heavily influenced by certain styles of architecture than others.  

San Juan, for example, was the main settlement for the Spaniards when they first conquered Puerto Rico, and this legacy has continued into the modern day, as it is the most populated city on the island. The capital though would not be what it is today without Old San Juan, as the two parts of the city work to seamlessly bridge the gap between the past and the present. Thus, it creates a common ground for all generations and a pipeline for the future. Consequently, San Juan continues to be a huge tourist attraction. In San Juan, you can see all of the architectural styles mentioned, as the capital does act as the heart of the island, pushing for both rebirth and preservation. The Plaza de Armas further encompasses this idea, serving as the main spot for communities to come together and interact, to enjoy anything from food to jewelry stands, and of course, music. 

Putting more of a spotlight on Old San Juan for a moment, this part of the capital is truly a time capsule.

Here is a glimpse of some apartments in Old San Juan. The mix of architectural styles across the buildings blends ideas from the old and new generations on the island.
(Sarah Infante)

To enter, you must go through Puerta de San Juan, the entryway that Spanish colonials utilized during the 1600s when many areas of the island were still closed off and reserved. Within this part of the capital, you can continue to be exposed to new architecture, including that of the Baroque style, which is marked by its dramatic coloring and detailing. Overall, Old San Juan and San Juan represent the beautiful ability of people to hold on to history while also paving the way for future generations. 

Heading west, you can reach Isabela, a region on the Northwest Coast of the island named after Queen Isabelle I of Castile, which is best known for its natural beauty, featuring vast forests and grand beaches. Although it doesn’t feature large architectural structures, the preservation of nature on this part of the island can be appreciated. Puerto Rico has long protected ecosystems and the environment, and it definitely shows as the natural beauty found is easily integrated into the architecture throughout.  

Not too far away is then Aguadilla, a city also located on the Northwest coast, a part of the island that holds a special place in my memories, as it was my first personal exposure to my Puerto Rican heritage, and it is where most of my family resides. In Aguadilla, one can be exposed to the more humble architecture that locals are used to in areas of high population density. Similar to what is can be found in Ponce, the homes take a modern approach to some of the architectural concepts that the Taíno people left behind and bolsters an idea of community and togetherness. 

Overall, Puerto Rico is one of the greatest examples of how cultures can be integrated and retained, with the island’s architecture being the biggest representation of that. I have merely skimmed the surface of the island’s history, but anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of the interconnections of the world should continue to dive into Puerto Rico’s architecture. Puerto Rico has long taken characteristics from several places around the world and moments in history, and the architecture on the island is constantly evolving and growing, working in tandem with its people who are continuing to learn and thrive.  

Overall, Puerto Rico is one of the greatest examples of how cultures can be integrated and retained, with the island’s architecture being the biggest representation of that. I have merely skimmed the surface of the island’s history, but anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of the interconnections of the world should continue to dive into Puerto Rico’s architecture.

National historic site in Puerto Rico reopens after hurricane

The Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, on August 1, 2010.The San Felipe del Morro Fort is a fortification built in XVI century the north end of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)



By next week, two important areas of a national historic site in San Juan, Puerto Rico, damaged by Hurricane Maria will be open to visitors and back to normal operations.

Public tours resumed Tuesday at the Castillo San Cristóbal area of San Juan National Historic Site, and officials expect Castillo San Felipe del Morro to reopen as early as next week, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

San Juan National Historic Site is composed of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, Fort San Juan de La Cruz, La Puerta de San Juan and parts of the city wall, according to NPS.

In September, Hurricane Maria caused major damage to the historic defensive walls inside San Juan National Historic Site, causing it to be closed to public use.

“For over 400 years, Castillo San Felipe del Morro has stood as guardian and symbol of Puerto Rico’s heritage, and it’s also a major tourism attraction for visitors from all over the world,” Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke said. “I’m incredibly proud of the National Park Service and entire Interior family, who have been working nonstop to reopen this important cultural and tourism attraction. Part of rebuilding communities means rebuilding revenue streams so folks can get back to work, earn a living and care for their families. The National Park Service will continue to work closely with the people of Puerto Rico to restore life into this vibrant community.”

More than 1. 4 million people visited NPS sites in Puerto Rico in 2016, creating $85 million in revenue, according to data provided by the Interior Department.

There will be a public community reopening event at the park on December 2.

Attack of Puerto Rico. Empire Crush

Puerto Rico Attack

In the early morning of September 24, 1625, lookouts stationed in the bastion of San Felipe del Morro, located in the Puerto Rican fortress of San Juan, saw an endless string of sails going towards Boqueron Bay. The ships anchored three miles from the shore, and a small white-flagged bialk proceeded to the city’s wharf. Parliamentarians handed over a paper to the governor of Puerto Rico, Juan de Aro, to the beat of drums.

It turned out that the ships belonged to the Dutch West India Company, the commander of the detachment, Captain Bodewijn Hendrix, issued an ultimatum to the governor, in which he demanded to surrender the city. Here is its full text:

“To Governor Don Juan de Haro.

You must know the reasons for our arrival, as well as our intentions. Therefore, I, Bodewijn Hendrix, General of the Dutch detachment, on behalf of the States General of my country and His Highness the Prince of Orange, demand that the fortress and garrison be surrendered to our mercy. In case my demand is not met, I warn that after the storming of the city we will not leave alive either the elderly, or children, or women, or men.

I trust your discretion,

Yours sincerely,

Bodewijn Hendrix.”

Aro was an experienced warrior who participated in the first war with Holland, and the ultimatums of various ragamuffins did not frighten him. An alarm was immediately announced, the local militia was urgently armed, and the cannonballs and gunpowder were taken out of the arsenals. Meanwhile, the Dutch squadron (17 ships, 2,000 soldiers) proceeded to Puntaglia Bay south of the city, where a landing force of 1,500 people and 6 guns landed.

The garrison of San Juan consisted of only 330 soldiers and 56 guns, most of which last fired in 1596 and 1598, during the attack on Puerto Rico by Francis Drake and Richard Clifford[35]. The carriages of many guns rotted, seven culverins simply exploded at the first salvo.

In addition, the provisions of the garrison consisted of 1200 loaves of bread, 46 bushels of corn, 130 jugs of olive oil, 10 barrels of crackers, 300 heads of cheese, 1 barrel of flour and 200 chickens. In general, there were practically no reserves for a city with a population of about 1200 inhabitants. At night, a detachment sent by the governor managed to buy 50 pigs and 20 feral horses from the farms and bring them to the city, but this did not solve the problem.

Trying to buy time, don Juan asked for a few days to communicate with the viceroy of the West Indies, the Dutch promised not to attack the city for three days, but they themselves thoroughly prepared for the assault, unloading everything they needed on the shore.

On September 30, Hendrix was given a reply from Aro:

“I have been reading your scribble, and I am sincerely surprised that you are asking me, a veteran of the fighting in Flanders, about such a thing that I would not dare to say aloud. Dear, I am very familiar with your methods and the methods of your fellow tribesmen, as well as with how you know how (or rather, do not know how) to fight and besiege cities.

If you hand over to me all your boats you came on and enter the city bound in twos without weapons, I will consider saving your life. In any other case, all of you are in danger of death.

Only my King and no one else will own San Juan.

Castle of San Felipe del Morro,

September 30, 1625

Juan de Aro.

The next day the bombardment of the city began. In total, the Dutch fired 150 volleys, but they could not inflict any damage on the fortifications of the city. However, the Dutch managed to capture a Spanish merchant ship, which approached the fortress nonchalantly. The event took place in full view of the whole city, neither the garrison nor the inhabitants could do anything to help the careless captain.

On the night of October 4, de Haro made a sally with 80 soldiers, the Dutch were taken by surprise, the Spaniards were able to rivet and take away with them 2 guns, 23 Dutch sailors were killed. From that day on, hidalgo sorties became constant, they inflicted great damage on the besiegers, and siege work slowed down greatly. On October 21, Hendrix wrote another letter to the governor, warning that after the city was captured, he would simply burn it down. De Haro replied that there were enough forests and stones in Puerto Rico to build a new city. The Spanish governor also suggested that Hendrix ask for reinforcements in Holland, since breaking up a detachment of 2,000 Dutch with a 300-man garrison, according to a Flanders veteran, is a common thing. «And I, ,» don Juan continued, « would like to distinguish himself and smash the whole Dutch army with my three hundred braves.» .

The next day the Dutch stormed and were able to capture the city, except for the citadel of San Felipe del Morro. In fulfillment of his promise, Hendrix burned about a hundred buildings, mostly wooden, and began to prepare to storm the last Spanish bastion.

But man proposes, but God disposes. De Haro sent captains Amizgut and Botello into the interior of the island in early September, with the task of recruiting a small detachment and going to the aid of the San Juan garrison. On November 1, 200 militia, led by the above-named caballeros, attacked the Dutch with such fervor that they completely cleared the city and retreated to their ships. Frightened by a dashing attack, the Dutch imagined that they were dealing with a Spanish detachment of equal numbers, and at a council of war they decided to sail away from the island. The siege cost the Dutch 400 dead and over 500 wounded. Spanish losses — 30 people killed.

Before sailing, Hendrix asked de Haro to let him buy provisions from the Puerto Ricans, but the governor categorically refused him.

The actions of de Haro, Amizguta and Botello aroused the admiration of Olivares and Philip IV. The governor of San Juan received 2,000 ducats as a reward and became a Knight of the Order of Santiago; Captain Amizguta became the owner of 1000 ducats, and was later appointed governor of Cuba; Botello also received 1,000 ducats and land in Maine.

This text is an introduction.


The entire ship is trembling.
What kind of passion awakened in metal?
Below the waves our sea lies.
The course deviates to the vertical.
Turbine breathing increased
From the embrace of underwater darkness.
And in the heavy silence of the depths
Come alive

Storming by Henry Morgan’s detachment of the forts of Puerto Bello

Assault by Henry Morgan’s detachment of the forts of Puerto Bello
In June 1668, the «general» of the filibusters of Jamaica, Henry Morgan, having only 460 people under his command, decided to attack one of the most fortified port cities of the Isthmus of Panama — Puerto Bello. This city,

John Coxon’s attack on Puerto Bello

John Coxon’s attack on Puerto Bello
Despite the fact that in 1668 Puerto Bello was thoroughly ravaged by filibusters under the command of Henry Morgan, the Spaniards managed to rebuild the city from the ruins, and they continued to use its harbor as a parking lot

Capture of Puerto Principe by Morgan’s detachment

Capture of Puerto Principe by Morgan’s detachment
Henry Morgan became the «general» of the filibusters of Jamaica shortly after their former leader, Edward Mansfelt, was captured by the Spaniards and was executed by them in Cuba. Morgan’s first operation as Commander-in-Chief was the audacious

Canton Attack

Attack of Canton
On December 15, the united squadrons approached the island of Henan, which lies opposite Canton, and deployed landing troops in the huge stores located on it; the fleet anchored west of the island. In the next two days, reconnaissance

were made

[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]

[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]
On the first Sunday after All Saints’ Day, that is, on the third day of November, shortly before dawn, the helmsman of the flagship proclaimed: “Congratulations to everyone! The land is visible! Great was the joy expressed by all the people, and

[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]

[Discovery of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico]
On Sunday, November 3, when dawn broke, the whole flotilla saw land. And so great was the universal joy, as if the heavens had opened before the sailors; this land was an island, which the admiral called Dominica, because


On that hot summer day, while the negotiations were going on, the British soldiers heard the hum of many bees collecting honey from the flowers — they grew in positions. At noon, Guy de Nelle gave the order to the troops to line up. It is amazing that, despite the recent defeat, he built an army of


After all that had happened, the King of France had only his own detachment left. John had an important decision to make: attack or cut his losses and retreat while there was time. Retreating is certainly more prudent, but in those days

Chapter 22 Henry Morgan’s attack on the city of Puerto Principe

Chapter 22
After the mysterious disappearance of Edward Mansfelt, the filibusters of Jamaica did not have a generally recognized leader for a long time, until at a general meeting of the crews of pirate ships based in Port Royal, the new «general»

Chapter 23: Morgan’s stunning trip to Puerto Bello

Chapter 23
In June 1668, the commander of the Jamaican flotilla, having only 460 people under his command, decided to attack the city of Puerto Bello. From the report of Morgan himself, it is known that nine leaders

participated in this campaign.


June 10, 1944 was a black day for the Finnish army. After massive artillery preparation and aerial bombardment, as well as reconnaissance in force, carried out on 9June, on the morning of the 10th, the 21st Army delivered a concentrated attack on the left flank division of the Finnish IV Corps, which held

Puerto Moorin

Puerto Moorin
This culture existed in the Viru valley on the north coast from the beginning of our era to 500. Not much is known about it — mostly what the burials preserved. The dead were buried in soil pits about 1.5 m long and about 0.5 m wide.0007


On Victory Day and on the Day of the Liberation of the Region from the Germans, front-line soldiers put on military awards: some on suits, some on jackets, and some on army uniforms, saved for this occasion, and went out to the square. And the city became festive! — Uncle Vasya, how many awards you have

Ballaja Subbarrio, Puerto Rico — tourist attractions, most visited places

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  • Puerto Rico
  • San Juan

Ballaja Subbarrio is located on is on the western part part of Puerto Rica (San Juan), 4 kilometers on north-west from San Juan. Here we counted 4 attractions. Here are some of the most interesting ones: Church of San José, El Moro Fortress, Fort San Felipe del Morro, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro Castle. There is also something to see in the surroundings. On east (1 kilometers) is Cemetery of Mary Magdalene. On southeast (1 kilometers) is Museum of the Americas, Casablanca Museum (1 km), Processional Square (1 km), La Rogativa Statue (1 km).

We invite you to visit the most interesting sights that we found around:

  • Castillo de San Felipe del Morro Castle
  • 471111″ lng=»-66.124167″> El Moro Fortress
  • Fort San Felipe del Morro Church
  • Mary Magdalene Cemetery
  • Museum of the Americas
  • Casablanca Museum
  • Procession Square
  • Statue of La Rogativa
  • Pablo Casals Museum
  • African Roots Museum
  • Feliza Rincón de Gautiere Museum

Top 100 attractions in Ballaja Subbarrio, Puerto Rico,
with photos and reviews

TOP-100 attractions, Ballaja Subbarrio, Puerto Rico

Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

Castillo de San Felipe del Morro is one of the most popular places in the old town of San Juan. CO



Fort El Moro

El Morro Fortress — the first 16th century defensive building in the city, built by the Spaniards, cat




Fort San Felipe del Morro

Fort San Felipe del Morro — a 16th-century Spanish stronghold on the northwest side of San Juan Island



Church of San José

Church of San José, built in Old San Juan in 1532, the second oldest church in all of the Americas

3. 49



Cemetery of Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene Cemetery in San Juan, named after Saint Mary Magdalene de




Museum of the Americas

Museum of the Americas opened on October 1992 years as a non-profit organization for the purpose of



Casablanca Museum

Casablanca Museum — the most historical museum of Old San Juan, located in the building of the city 1521, to

3. 02


Procession Square

Process Square or Plazuela de la Rogativa, was built in 1971. It has modern



Statue of La Rogativa

The statue of La Rogativa, the symbol of the city of San Juan, was erected to commemorate the brave act of the locals,



Pablo Casals Museum

Pablo Casals Museum is a historical exhibition dedicated to the famous Catalan cello


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