Casa Blanca, San Juan

Among the many highlights of our whirlwind tour of Old San Juan last week was a circumlocution of "Casa Blanca," the sprawling house built by Spanish explorer (and early governor of the region) Juan Ponce de Leon.
Casa Blanca was built by Juan Ponce de León in 1521, though he never lived in it. He died during an expedition to Florida while the structure was being built. It was, however, the residence of his descendants until the mid-eighteenth century.
Commanding a west-facing promontory and surrounded today by tiered gardens (the gardens were planted by the first American governor of the island in the nineteenth century), Casa Blanca served as the first fortification of the island, mostly protecting its residents from the native Taino.
One of the few disappointments of our visit to San Juan was our inability to enter and tour Casa Blanca, as it was under renovations. But we did the best we could, under the circumstances, walking all around the place until a single museum official told us we had to leave.
I took the photo above in an effort to show how the city wall (closest to the water) and the walls of Casa Blanca formed a double barrier between this enclosure and the sea.

Today, Casa Blance  is a museum of sixteenth- and seventeenth century artifacts managed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. It is one of the oldest buildings in Puerto Rico and is, of course, a cultural treasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment