Old San Juan
Walking Tour Part 2
|A section with many worthwhile museums.|
5. Pablo Casals Museum : On Plaza de San Jose , the museum is dedicated to the cellist who came to Puerto Rico to live in 1957. The unimposing building contains manuscripts, photographs and a library of videotapes of Festival Casals concerts that may be played on request. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5:30;723-9185.
6. San Jose Church : Dominating the Plaza de San Jose and dating back to 1532, this is the second-oldest church in the Western Hemisphere . Dating back to 1532, it has a remarkable series of vaulted Gothic ceilings.
The figure of Christ of the Cross on the church's left side is believed to date from the mid 16th-century. The family of Ponce de Leon, the first governor, worshipped here. He was buried in the church from the 16th to the 20th century. Open Monday-Saturday 8:30-4. Mass at noon Sunday; 725-7501.
7. Quincentennial Square : Located on Old San Juan's highest hill, the square was built to celebrate the 500th anniversary of America 's discovery by Christopher Columbus. A 40-foot high, totem-like monument in black granite and ceramics rises from the square.
8. Las Americas Museum : The museum highlights folk art not only from Puerto Rico but all over the Americas . Open Tuesday-Friday from 10-4; On weekends from 11-5; 724-5052.
9. School of Fine Arts : Facing El Morro, this imposing building is not a tourist attraction but an institute of learning. Student shows are offered seasonally.
10. Institute of Puerto Rican Culture : Formerly the Hospital de Beneficia, this impressively restored building provides a good look at the island's culture and geology from prehistoric times. Open daily except Monday from 9-5; 724-0700.
11. Plaza de Beneficia: Grab a bench and relax in this small park.