Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Havana

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    from near ave del Puerto side todays...
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    Real Fuerza, the oldest colonial fort in America

    by russian_yaz Written Apr 6, 2005

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza

    Declared National monument. It was built to replace the former fort that the Governor of the Island had built under the orders of the Queen of Spain and which was destroyed in 1555 by the French corsair Jacques de Sores. It used to be the oldest colonial fort of the Americas, and was opened in 1577. It was the beginning of a fortification plan carried out by the Spanish crown in the Caribbean to protect the voyages of the Spanish fleet.

    As it underwent several changes and enlargements like La Torre del Homenaje, a watchtower, and the old post of sentinels in 1632 that was used as a pedestal of a unique symbol of the city and well known worldwide: La Giraldilla, which perhaps represents the Giraldilla de Sevilla. It is also the oldest sculpture of Cuba.

    Today it is the headquarters of the Museum of Artistic Ceramics which exhibits paintings of the Cuban artists Amelia Peláes, Wilfredo Lam, René Portocarrero, Rodríguez de la Cruz, and others representatives of the new generations of Cuban ceramists.

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    De la Real Fuerza Castle

    by Havaname Written Oct 3, 2004

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    De la Real Fuerza Castle,Cuba

    Declared National monument. It was built to replace the former fort that the Governor of the Island had built under the orders of the Queen of Spain and which was destroyed in 1555 by the French corsair Jacques de Sores. It used to be the oldest colonial fort of the Americas, and was opened in 1577. It was the beginning of a fortification plan carried out by the Spanish crown in the Caribbean to protect the voyages of the Spanish fleet. As it underwent several changes and enlargements like La Torre del Homenaje, a watchtower, and the old post of sentinels in 1632 that was used as a pedestal of a unique symbol of the city and well known worldwide: La Giraldilla, which perhaps represents the Giraldilla de Sevilla. It is also the oldest sculpture of Cuba. Today it is the headquarters of the Museum of Artistic Ceramics which exhibits paintings of the Cuban artists Amelia Peláes, Wilfredo Lam, René Portocarrero, Rodríguez de la Cruz, and others representatives of the new generations of Cuban ceramists.

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    CASTILLO DE LA REAL FUERZA

    by LoriPori Written Nov 25, 2007

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza
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    Built in the 16th century, CASTILLO DE LA REAL FUERZA or Castle of the Royal Forces, is one of the oldest fortresses in the Americas.The fortress was built to protect Havana from raids by pirates and corsairs, that plagued the town in the 16th century.
    It wasn't until 1577 that Real Fuerza was finally finished. The fortress was made out of limestone coral rock, dug out from the Harbour. It has underground vaulted storerooms, drawbridge, sloping walls, bastions and surrounded by a moat. As it was the safest building at the time, Spanish Governors took up residence inside the fortress.
    Entrance fee 1 CUC peso

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    Plaza de Armas

    by Luchonda Updated Jan 15, 2004

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    Local customs

    Famous second hand book market near the Castillo the la real Fuerza
    Only since the late 1990ties this market was officially allowed as a trading place for books-portraits and other literature - mostly of authors from the revolution period.
    Local people are dressed in tradtional clothes - asking for ONE dollar if a tourist wants to picture them.

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    Fortress

    by hojasdehierba Written Feb 19, 2006

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    This castle-fortress was built in XVI century to protect La Habana from pirates, after the city had suffered devastation with a buccaneer attack, which destroyed the original fortress in 1555. But the new fortress proved to be equally vulnerable and it was soon appointed to serve as a residence for governors and military chiefs. A weather vane was added in 1634 which was called La Giraldilla and that became a symbol for La Habana. Nowadays, the castle houses the Pottery Museum.

    Este castillo-fortaleza fue construido en el siglo XVI para proteger La Habana de los piratas, despues de que la ciudad hubiese sido arrasada por un ataque bucanero que destruyo la fortaleza original en 1555. Pero la nueva fortaleza resulto ser igualmente vulnerable y pronto fue destinada a servir de residencia a gobernadores y jefes militares. Se le anhadio una veleta en 1634 que recibio el nombre de La Giraldilla y se convirtio en simbolo de La Habana. Hoy en dia, el castillo alberga el Museo Nacional de Ceramica.

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    Plaza de Armas

    by Luchonda Updated Jan 16, 2004

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    Book market

    Many times - many early mornings during my visit in Havana i spent some relaxed time at this square - just beautiful to look how the people are trying to sell "antique books" and postcards of the glorious years - the atmosphere - the tourist traps - the restaurants.

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    Around Plaza de Armas

    by Alicja1 Written Jul 20, 2006

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza
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    The Plaza de Armas Park is a large park and centre of local and tourist activities located in the heart of Old Havana. There is a beautiful water fountain in the middle of the square, some benches, trees from different parts of Cuba, including palm trees and a large variety of flowers. In the centre there is a statue of the Cuban patriot hero Cespedes.

    The park is well lit by many gas lamps. In the daytime there are people selling Spanish books, many of which pertain to the Cuban revolution of 1959. In the evenings the park fills with life as many locals and tourists go to the restaurants and bars that surround the park and is a nice place to sit and enjoy the evening perhaps with a bottle of rum. The square is very safe as there are many police walking around 24 hours a day to provide assistance.

    Castillo de la Fuerza- was bultin 1558-77 to protect city from pirates, but despite the moat surroundings the castle soon proved to be quite inadequate as a defensive bulwark because of its poor strategic position, too far inside the bay. Thats why it became the residence for governors, military etc...Open 6am-6.30 daily

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza

    by mim95 Written Jul 22, 2004

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    Looking toward Plaza de Armas from the fortress

    Built in the 16th century, the fortress is one of the oldest in the Americas. It was the residence of the Spanish captain general for two centuries, until he got a new home close by at the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. It is currently in restoration, but remains opened to the public. There is not much on display inside the fortress regarding its past. On the ground level, you'll find the Museo de la Ceramica, with pottery of different time periods.

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    La Giraldilla

    by mim95 Written Jul 22, 2004

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    La Giraldilla on top of the tower of the fortress

    La Giraldilla is a bronze weather vane on top of the west watchtower of the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. The original is kept in Museo de la Ciudad. It honours Inez de Bobadilla, who served as Cuba's only female governor.

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    Castillo de la real Fuerza

    by Luchonda Updated Feb 21, 2004

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    Castillo de la real Fuerza

    This 16th century with it's broad and charastitc angular ramparts is the oldest military construction in Habana.
    The location is in old Habana - so next to the traditional hotels like "Park view" and "Hotel Plaza"

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza

    by sunnywong Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Which dates from 1538. It is not only the oldest fortress in Cuba but also one of the olderst in Latin America. The round fortress tower is crowned by a small figure, known as La Giraldilla and now a symbol for Havana.

    The Castillo meanwhile houses a small museum, coffee shop and a souvenir shop that sells cigars.

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    Forget the fort and go nextdoor to the Art Market!

    by Kindra Written Sep 17, 2008

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    I bought a painting from this artist - FANTASTIC!
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    The castle and art market ("feria de artes") are on the edge of La Habana Vieja ("Old Havana") across from the Malecon. Its a 30 minute walk or so from Centro Habana or a $2-3 cab ride.

    Part of Cuba is the country's amazing investment in and contribution to art, whether it be music, theatre, plastic arts etc. At the Feria, there are a number of stalls selling regular Cuban touristy items (jewellery, cigar paraphernalia, Che hats and shirts) but there is also a great selection of paintings to choose from. I found the prices to be very reasonable (you can bargain but of all things to negotiate for, I don't tend to drive a hard-bargain on art since it is a very beautiful, time-consuming, soul-wrenching type of labour and I like to respect the artists' prices) ranging from around $15 for a small, textured painting up to $60-100 for a very large, original piece. If it is larger, make sure the artist gives you a formal receipt (the $2 CUC charge may or may not be included in the painting price) which you can give to Customs should they inspect your luggage and find the art (they never have with me).

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza

    by leffe3 Updated Aug 3, 2006

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    The oldest building in Cuba (1558 - rebuilt in 1582). Cute little fort overlooking the Canal de Entrada, the access route from the open sea to the port of Havana. Lots of viewing points and a small museum along with a cafe and gallery. Open daily from 8.30am-6pm. there's not a great deal to see (ramparts, walls and corridors) but certainly worth 30 minutes or so of your time.

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    Castillo de la Real...

    by RickL Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Castillo de la Real Fuerza
    Admission only $2. It's the oldest colonial fort in the Americas! Built on top of the foundation of another fort destroyed by French pirates in 1558. Surrounded by a moat and was the residence of the Spanish captain's general for 200 years. Numerous art works are on display inside as well.
    Very convenient and a great view of the harbour from the tower.

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  • Castillo de la Real Fuerza now a Maritime Museum

    by MIDPTCAN Written Apr 12, 2011

    Castillo de La Real Fuerza has now re-opened as a Cuba’s premier maritime museum. (There is also a small naval museum in Cienfuegos.)

    The museum contains excellent exhibits of Cuba’s maritime past from pre-Columbian days through to the 18th Century with the Royal Shipyard of Havana, one of the largest in the world which built nearly 200 ships for the Spanish Crown. The museum features a huge four metre model of the Santisima Trinidad located on the main floor with a large interactive touch screen which describes life aboard an 18th Century ship-of-the-line in Spanish, French, and English. The original ship was launched into Havana Bay on March 2, 1769 and was the largest ship in the world in the 18th Century, with 140 canons on four gun decks. She was one of four Cuban built ships at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

    Downstairs you will also find ancient navigational instruments, underwater archaeological artifacts, and gold and silver from the colonial era. Also note the original weathervane, La Giraldilla, while her replica moves in the breeze on the top of the fortress tower which also commands a fantastic view of the city. The second level of the museum hosts many other historic and contemporary models of ships with links to Cuba and is also a good location for viewing the harbour and city skyline.

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