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Thread: San Juan, Puerto Rico

  1. #1

    San Juan, Puerto Rico

    The city of San Juan was for a long time known as Puerto Rico or Rich Port. At some point in history, the names switched.

    San Juan was founded on 1508, like almost all original settlements, it was moved to its current location on 1521 on the Island of Isla Grande. The Spanish really wanted to protect Puerto Rico because of its strategic location so they completely walled the island of Isla Grande, with strategic forts located at each corner, and miniforts all over the place. It really is quite an awe of military engineering. At one point they even had a chain that stretched across the entrance of the bay, and as protective / delaying tactic, it would be raised and stop ships from entering the bay.

    The Spanish did leave a lot in Puerto Rico, their culture, their language, they brought a lot of slaves, etc. But they also held tight control on Puerto Rico, on how it should develop, on what was right and wrong. This however led to well-planned cities. There is a lot of ways to look at it.

    The sentiment among the people was we should be independent. And the time came when Spain ceaded, and began the transition process from colony to independent nation. Then the Spanish-American war happened. And since then, so many things have happened.

    The US treated us just like a colony. And yet, in some ways it was good. You see in the 1900's the US was really socialist.

    They expanded education and health to every corner of the Island. English was mandatory, but after awhile people weren't really that enthused to teach it anyways. They helped establish our first state university. They poured money into everything, buildings, roads, and especially military bases (just like the Spanish).

    Then in 1950's, everything changed, again. The US gave PRicans almost all rights as state residents, except the right to vote for a president and representation in Senate and House, and the Puerto Rican constitution was written. The US also began the downward spiral into anti-socialism. For the next 50 years, Puerto Rico would start turning upside down again.

    The public rail-based transportation system was allowed to die. The private automobile began to turn into a necessity for living on the Island. And today, there are 4 million cars for the 3.9 million people. They insist on expanding the highway system.

    Public schools are still in every municipality, and they may offer courses as good as they are stateside, but the dropout rate is just depressing and we have not seen the social benefits (such as reduced crime) that come with proper education, so crime is in effect a sign of the disfunction of the education system. Private schools are disgustingly expensive, but offer a much better education.

    Public health system is well,... No comment. I remember in 1995, fearing having to go to the doctor for vaccines. They were free at the state clinic. It was an average place, but the flu shots were free. Then Roselló came and gave the public hospitals over to the private corporations. The Reform, as it is known, has turned out to be much more expensive than originally intended. Anyways, turns out depending on which shot I get, the cost ranges from $50 to $137 (TPD).

    It saddens me to see Puerto Rico have made so much progress and then have it turn its back on its people, on its Constitution, on its core beliefs. The US has done a lot for Puerto Rico, but people have to remember that we are Americans too, and so many Puerto Ricans have fought our wars, and served the country.

    A little bit of education before the photos get posted.

    This was my introduction post for Puerto Rico.

  2. #2
    Old San Juan is a small part of San Juan. It has a few blocks of 16-18th century buildings, the rest is mainly 19-20th century development, much like many Latin American cities.

    Old aerial shots that are lingering around the Internetz.

    Cruise Ships docked in Old San Juan. It is one of the largest cruise ship ports in the world, and many cruise lines call this port home.

    The Capitol Building, known as El Capitolio

  3. #3
    Some of the forts

    San Cristobal

    San Felipe

    To the town!

    The last remaining gate to the city. The rest have been destroyed in the name of urban expansion.

    I'll bring more pics tomorrow.
    Last edited by davsot; 16 Oct 2010 at 1:20 AM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Quote Originally posted by davsot View post
    Some of the forts

    San Felipe

    The image of one of these parapets is shown on the Puerto Rico quarter (released into circulation in 2009) http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/...ories&local=PR


  5. #5
    The old part of Old San Juan

    Can't find many of the photos I wanted to post. >_>

    Governor's Mansion

    Old churches and cathedrals

    El Convento

    The Pentacentennial Plaza

    Historic Areas

    Teatro Tapia

    Plaza de Armas

    St. Sebastian Day

    Tomorrow, or later today expect photos of the centennial areas and buildings.

  6. #6
    Now some photos of the neoclassical, the art deco, the moorish influence and more of Old San Juan.

    Plaza de Colón

    This was a famous bookstore

    North-South Streets (looking South to San Juan Bay)


    Private University


    high end retailers lol



  7. #7
    Part 2 of the last post

    Plaza de Armas

    More Buildings

    This was the oldest prison on the Island. Now it's something else.

  8. #8
    Part 3 of the last post

    More buildings!

    Chamber of Commerce

  9. #9
    Old San Juan at night

    How San Juan is taking steps to become more livable

    Remaking the streets

    And in the future...

    San Juan: Walkable City

    Article I wrote about the plan: http://www.planetizen.com/node/45271

    PDF: http://issuu.com/sanjuannews/docs/fi...ty_july3-final

    Investor Website: http://www.bahiaurbana.com/

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
    Jun 2009
    Where the Wild Things Are
    Great pics and history! I've always wanted to go to Puerto Rico and this only makes the desire that much stronger. It's beautiful. It has some areas that resemble San Francisco, some like New Orleans, and of course most of it a feel all it's own. The best part is I wouldn't even need a passport!
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Aug 2002
    I enjoyed your photos, too. My brother-in-law grew up in Bayamon, and my sister and nephew have been to P.R. many times. I had no idea San Juan had such beautiful architecture!

  12. #12
    More photos coming up of other subdistricts of San Juan.

  13. #13
    Puerta de Tierra
    This subdistrict is directly East of Old San Juan and is also located on Isleta. Most of this district was enclosed within the walled city of Old San Juan.

    Some angles...

    Hilton Complex, a friend likes to call it Hilton City

    The Normandie, an Art Deco Hotel

    More shots focusing on architecture coming up...

  14. #14
    Architecture of Puerta de Tierra

    Most of these streets originally had streetcars running through them.

  15. #15
    More Puerta de Tierra

    I'm assuming y'all have fast Internet at this point

    Urban Art

  16. #16
    Parque Muñoz Rivera
    Puerta de Tierra's award-winning park

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