Castillo de San Marcos on Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest masonry fort in the United States and a designated National Monument spot by the US National Park. The 17th century military fortress was originally built by Spain as a military outpost standing watch over the Atlantic Ocean. Its primary function was to safeguard the colonial power’s New World Empire against foreign rivals such as Great Britain.
The fortress is also a living testament to the long history of St. Augustine as the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States. Spaniard Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the city in 1565, establishing it as a political, military, and religious center of the then-province of Florida.
Throughout its more than 200 years of colonial history, the location has weathered multiple battles and attacks. It served as a military base for six flags, namely the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America. Each of these transfers was negotiated through treaty and agreement and never through force.
Today, the monument spreads across more than 20 acres of land and is a highlight for all visitors to the city. Despite the various damages sustained and renovations undergone through the years, the fort has been largely restored back to its original state in 1756. This includes a reconstructed section of the walled defense line that used to surround the city. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Upper Deck and Architectural Design
3.Castillo de San Marcos Grounds
Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida: Castillo de San Marcos
- Upper Deck and Architectural Design, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Storage Room, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Castillo de San Marcos Grounds, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
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