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The Morro Cabaña Military Historical Park a treasure of world architecture.
Declared by UNESCO in 1982 Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Morro Cabaña Military Historical Park is not only contemplative history but also participates in cultural and historical projects today.
It is made up of two fortifications, the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro and the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.
Castle of the Three Kings of Morro
The Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro is the most representative of the Cuban fortresses.
Its construction dates from 1630 and is the largest of the military installations created by Spain in America. It was erected on the reef and looks like an irregular polygon.
The work was the idea of the engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli in the year 1585, the way of conceiving it is in the form of a non-regular polygon erected on a rock.
One of its characteristics is that it has areas over 60 feet high, with stone construction and where access is not simple at all.
Its main function was to protect the bay of Havana from the attack of corsairs and pirates, as well as the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, whose construction began at the same time.
From an architectural point of view, it has unique characteristics that make it a unique military fortress.
It is characterized by entering towards the guide with an acute angle and several curtains that open and step with different dimensions.
In its interior areas there is communication between them, and in front of the Castle there is a moat, glasis, counterscarp and other elements that allowed greater security for defense abroad.
In the castle there are evidences of the stories of corsairs and pirates, and it stands out as attractive to climb the lighthouse or enjoy the landscape from the Balcony of the Queen.
Another interesting sample is the Exhibition The Great Trips, it shows the most significant maritime expeditions that Spain and Portugal carried out in the 15th and 16th centuries.
El Faro, next to the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, has become an imperishable symbol of Havana.
After the restoration began in 1986, the Castle, together with the San Carlos de La Cabaña Fortress, became part of the Morro-Cabaña Military Historical Park.
The Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña
For its part, the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress is a military complex built between 1763 and 1774 under the direction of the military engineer Silvestre.
Its location at the entrance to the bay of Havana served at the time to defend the island from enemy attacks. Named after King Carlos III, it is one of the largest constructions made by the Spanish in America and also one of the largest fortresses found in the entire American continent.
The strategic position of the fortress, its proximity to the Morro, and the more than 700 meters of wall, made it the largest on the island and the first in America of its kind.
It had a very large military capacity and its weapons were very efficient.
It is estimated that by 1859 it had 120 bronze cannons and howitzers of different calibers. In 1863, the military equipment reached 245 artillery pieces, in addition to other short-range light weapons.
Something that has made the history of that building transcend is that during the Cuban independence struggles of the 19th century, many patriots, including the current National Hero José Martí, were prisoners behind those bars and many were also killed in the Pit of Laurels.
This fortress has within its architectural design the main body that is made up of two extreme semi-bastions that are San Lorenzo and San Francisco. It also has a central bastion that is that of San Ambrosio, all linked by curtains towards the ground.
The part that projects towards the port has a massive escarpment and a colossal moat surrounds it by land. On the façade it has an arch-shaped gap walled up with attached columns.
Inside there is the main square, the barracks, the ramps and the circulation streets for the troops on a monumental scale.
The restoration work on the fortification began in 1986 and ended in 1992. Then the Museum of Weapons, the Museum of the Che Command and a Monographic Museum were opened, which describes the history of the fortress.
In addition, since then, its spaces have hosted cultural events of great importance such as the Havana Biennial of Plastic Arts and the International Book Fair.
It preserves one of the most relevant Havana traditions: the nine o’clock cannon, which announced the closing time of the walls.
Witnessing the ceremony with soldiers dressed in the style of the 18th century is currently one of the most attractive and popular activities.