now walking streets where miracles have happened.
17. City Hall (Alcaldia): Resembling Madrid's city hall, the huge building is notable for its double arcade flanked by 2 towers. It is a copy of the City Hall in Madrid. Work on it started in 1609 but was not completed until 1789. More than a showpiece, it houses the city's main offices and a tourist information center. Open weekdays from 8-5.
18. Plaza de Armas: In the heart of the old city, this was the military parade ground, now an open piazza with fountains.
19. San Juan Gate: The large wooden gate at the base of La Fortaleza was part of the city huge defense system. Upon arrival here, important dignitaries were escorted to San Juan Cathedral to celebrate a mass in thanks for a successful voyage.
20. La Fortaleza : Overlooking San Juan Bay from the top of the city walls, this governor's mansion was initially built as a fortress in 1532 against the fierce Carib Indians. The oldest executive mansion still in use in the Western Hemisphere , it is open to guided tours Monday-Friday 9-11 and 1-3. Tours in English on the hour, in Spanish on the half hour. As this is a working government office, proper attire is required.
21. Pigeon Park : A nice quiet park for relaxing after walking the old city. And, of course, it is filled with pigeons.
22. Cristo Chapel: According to legend, in 1753 a man lost control of his horse and would have plunged over the cliff at the street's end except that the horse suddenly stopped.
Considering this a miracle and, to give thanks, the rider built a chapel on the spot and dedicated it to the Christ of the Miracles. Originally it had only a tiny niche with a figure of Christ. Now it houses a silver altar. Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
23. La Princesa Promenade: This renovated street is a 19th century boulevard paralleling the old city wall. Lined with palms and shade trees, it is one of the city's widest walkways.
24. La Princesa Jail: Dating to 1837, this distinctive gray and white building is now the home of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. It probably never looked this good when used as a lock-up.
Next Page (Old San Juan Walking Tour Part 5)
San Juan Walking Tour Part 3
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