San Juan Discovery Guide

Overview

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico has the distinction of being the second oldest European city in the Americas after Santo Domingo, having been founded by Spanish colonists as far back as 1521. This also makes it the oldest US city, Puerto Rico being United States territory. Several buildings of historical significance are to be found here, prominent among them being the forts of Fort San Felipe Del Morro and Fort San Cristobál, and the oldest executive mansion still extant in the Americas, La Fortaleza. In the old days of the conquistadors, it was referred to as the Ciudad de Puerto Rico- the rich port city.

Today it is not only a major port city, but also the manufacturing, financial and cultural heart of the city. It is also the epicenter of the Puerto Rican tourism industry. San Juan offers a tourist a fine bouquet of exquisite sights. From old San Juan with a 465 year old neighborhood which is replete with hundreds of carefully restored 16th and 17th century buildings from the Spanish colonial era to the all new and magnificent Plaza del Quinto Centenario, the quin-centennial square, inaugurated on October 12, 1992, to commemorate 500 years of Columbus’ discovery of America, San Juan has lots to offer to the diehard travel aficionado.

It has two of the oldest churches of the new world, the Cathedral de San Juan, and the Iglesia de San José whose construction began in 1521 and 1523 respectively. The city also has its fair share of grand museums, art galleries and restaurants. And to cap it all it has the Caribbean weather.
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