San Cristobal UK Blog

Blog for travelers

Colonial Havana

Colonial Havana


When coming to Cuba, Havana is the first gem that you should explore. Almost five centuries since its settlement (November 16, 1519) and today you still breathing an antique air in some areas of the city. Like frozen in time, Havana is a beautiful place to go and feel the vibes, the music and the uniqueness of the island.

Mostly in Old Havana town, many fortress constructed by the Spaniards back in the 18th century still having an impeccable presence. You can say its wall can talk. Colonial fortress in Havana are a must: we are talking about very historic and well-preserved; one of the most attractive tourist destinations in town. These fortresses were built for defending the capital against pirate’s attacks.

The main fortress, the ones you shouldn’t miss are: El Templete, La Punta and Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes el Morro. The Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes el Morro was built on a high rocky formation at the entrance of the harbor, one of the most stunning and classic views of Havana. Construction works took forty years: from 1589 to 1630.

San Carlos de la Cabana castle, part of the El Morro fortress, was built in 1763 under the order of King Carlos III. It is a 700-meter-long place with an area of 450-meter walls of amazing lines. The most representative of those castles is Los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro castle on a top of a high stone at the entrance of the harbor.

El-templeteEl Templete 


At present, it is a worthy place to go. It can be reached by car crossing the bay tunnel of Havana. In this place, you can find restaurants like La Divina Pastora or Los Doce Apóstoles in tribute to the most important artillery battery the castle had.
El Morro, as it is known too, is an irregular polygon-shaped thick-wall castle that elevates forty meters above sea level and that has bastions and defense overhanging. Its most relevant event took place in 1762 when English invader troops took it and once there, they occupied Havana during an eleven-month interval -until July 6th, 1763.

At present, travelers easily see the light from under the castle of its ten meter-tall lighthouse that served as watchtower. The fuel used in the lighthouse has evolved as time passed by: wood at the beginning, oil from 1819 on, acetylene from 1928 on, and finally electricity since 1945. Right across from El Morro, in the other side of the harbor La Punta emerged, aimed at establishing a crossed fire to the attackers between the two fortresses. La Punta was finished in 1600 after ten years of hard work.

Past, present and future


These dream fortresses are a Cuban feast for the senses. Nevertheless, is more than that, is part of our history and our nation. If you want to feel and know about our deepest roots, were we came from and most important: were we want to be.