Cathedral de San Juan Bapista
Begun in 1521, the Cathedral of San Juan is the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere. It is Puerto Rico's most revered religious landmark.
Inside is the tomb of explorer Juan Ponce de Leon who was also the first governor of Puerto Rico. It also houses the mummy of Saint Pio, a Roman martyr.
The Cathedral was done originally in the late Gothic style and elements of that style can still be seen in the vaulted tower, the ceiling and in other parts of the Cathedral. However, the Cathedral, including its facade, was re-done in 1852 in the Neo-classical style.
Plaza de San Jose
Immediately next to the Church of San Jose is a large plaza. It is dominated by a statue of Ponce de Leon.
Located at one end of the plaza is the Museo de Casals, which presents the life and career of cellist Pable Casals.
Also near the plaza on San Sebastian street is the African Heritage Museum, which looks at the influence of West African culture on Puerto Rico.
San Sebastian street is also known for its lively nightlife.
Not far from the Church of San Jose is another building with ties to Ponce de Leon. The Casa Blanca (White House) was built as a home for the famous explorer. However, Ponce de Leon was killed before he could take up residence. Nonetheless, it was occupied by his descendants for 250 years. This stone building also served as a fort and place of refuge during early Taino rebellions. Today, the building is a museum focusing on the lives of the city's founding family. The gardens and adjacent parkland are open to the public. (See separate article)
Cruise destination - - Old San Juan - Attractions - page two