The Prince’s Castle was a Spanish military fortress, one of the main prisons in Havana.
The Prince’s Castle was built by the director of engineers of the time, Don Silvestre Abarca (the same one who built the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabaña ) on the Known as Aróstegui hill, because the land belonged to Don Martín Aróstegui.
The first settlers who settled in the area were the relatives of the day laborers who worked in the construction of the Prince’s Castle, named in honor of the then Prince Charles IV of Spain, and the approximately one thousand soldiers who were in charge of defense and custody. of said fortress.
The Prince’s Castle and its construction
The works began in 1767 and concluded in 1779, although in 1771 the point had been provisionally fortified, while the other works of the time were being completed, according to an inscription found on a royal coat of arms hanging in the officer’s room. of guards at the entrance of the Prince’s Castle.
The fortress has the shape of an irregular pentagon with two bastions, two semi-bastions and a net, it includes large pits, mine galleries, as well as warehouses, offices, a cistern and accommodation for a garrison of a thousand men, while its artillery counted with 60 pieces of different calibers.
Over the years, it underwent changes and became the most important prison in the city of Havana . Between the 19th centuries and the first half of the 20th, the fortress housed common and political prisoners.
There, Rafael María de Mendive, José Martí’s teacher, kept prison, which was visited by his faithful disciple accompanied by the teacher’s wife, crossing part of the way from Old Havana < / a> to the fortress, in front of the Quinta de los Molinos.
Julio Antonio Mella, Eduardo Chibás, Raúl Roa, Juan Marinello and many other revolutionaries were imprisoned there.
This prison remained as such from colonial times until the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, when the Prince’s Castle became a unit of ceremonies.