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Castillo de la Real Fuerza

Cross the drawbridge of this fortress complex to see its cannons and mortars and inspect the fascinating items on display in the Navigation Museum.

The Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a star-shaped fortress overlooking the city’s harbor. Among the oldest forts in the Americas, it contains historic Spanish cannons and many intriguing military artifacts. Learn about the many uses for this impressive 16th-century site, including as a national library and various museums.

Admire the Spanish renaissance design of the fortress, which has a four-point layout. It has a drawbridge covering a moat and thick limestone walls 33 feet (10 meters) high. Stroll through the forecourt for a closer look at its cannons and mortars. Spot the replica of an iconic 17th-century weather vane known as La Giraldilla atop the western tower.

Enter the castle via the drawbridge to reach the Navigation Museum. Examine the array of model ships and artifacts recovered from sunken ships. Among the highlights is the 10-foot (3-meter) model of the Santisima Trinidad that sunk in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

See the intriguing coins in the silver and gold exhibit. Browse the items on display in the shop, including Cuban souvenirs and cigars.

Take a guided tour for a detailed history of the fortress, which was completed in 1577 with the use of forced labor. The state used punishments of heavy fines and lashes to coerce the people into working.

There is a fee to enter the castle, with discounts for students, and an extra fee to bring a camera. It’s free to wander around the exterior section.

The Castillo de la Real Fuerza is in the northeastern part of Old Havana in the heart of the city. It overlooks the Canal de Entrada that separates the port from the bay. Explore this historic area for cultural gems, such as the Bacardi Building, the Plaza de la Catedral and the Palacio del Segundo Cabo.


Guide to Exploring Castillo de la Real Fuerza


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