La Fortaleza (Governor’s House)

La Fortaleza was the first fortification built in San Juan harbor. Constructed between 1533 and 1540, the original fort consisted of a circular tower and four massive stone walls. The Spanish military constructed a second tower, called the Austral, at the end of the 16th century. The original tower, now called Torre del Homenaje, or “tower of homage,” still stands; its name derives from an island tradition in which the resident governor climbs to the top of the tower to pledge a solemn oath of loyalty and courage during dangerous times. Today, the building serves as the official residence and offices of Puerto Rico’s Governor.

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