The people who visit the Arms Square and the Palace of the Captains General, will not want to miss a visit the Castle of the Royal Force. This 16th-century military fortress is located at one end of the Arms Square, right in front of the bay, in the historic center of Havana. This exponent of Spanish colonial military architecture is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. In its tower rises Giraldilla, icon of Havana City.

It is said that this castle was an important point of defense in the year 1762, when the taking of Havana by the English. During colonial times it was occasionally the residence of the captains general and governors of Cuba. A curious fact is that here the gold, silver and other valuable goods that would be exported to Spain were safeguarded. Over the years it had several uses until in 2005 it became the Castle Museum of the Royal Force.

In the interior also lies the Museum of Navigation in Cuba. Various objects related to naval history are exposed. In some of the rooms there are instruments and various naval models. The visitor can learn about the history of navigation in the Caribbean, the history of shipbuilding in Cuba since the 17th century and observe various samples of underwater archeology.

In one of the main rooms of the Castle of the Royal Force can be observed a model of the fort to scale that illustrates the constructive evolution of this building. On the route you can see the findings of objects related to the life and functions of the castle between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In the tower, placed like a vane, a copy of the sculpture of the Giraldilla is preserved like the older symbol that is conserved of Havana. The original of the Giraldilla is in the Museum of the City.

This castle, like other constructions of the centuries XVI and XVII, is characterized by the perfect symmetry of the Renaissance architecture. It forms a perfect square with four bulwarks, one at each angle. The fort is surrounded by a wide moat and the access to its interior is through a wooden drawbridge. All this has been rescued from the passage of time for the enjoyment of the visitor.

For visit: O’Reilly street, number 2 between Avenida del Puerto & Tacón. Habana Vieja (“23.14105, -82.34966”). Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 hours.

by: Leunam Rodríguez