Sunday, July 14, 2013

Castillo de San Marcos

Today we went to St. Augustine. We spent most of our time at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. This is one of the few National Park Service places we have went that charges a fee. It is $7 per adult (15 & under are free). The fee goes back into preserving the Castillo.

The Castillo is the 10th fort to be built on this site. The first 9 were wooden forts built between 1565 & 1672.

The Castillo was started October 2, 1672 & finished in August of 1695.

It's location on the West Bank of Matanzas Bay allowed its guns to protect the harbor entrance & the ground to the north from land attack.

The entrance to the fort is protected by a drawbridge & gate as well as a Ravelin, which is like a mini fort for protection.

You then crossed the moat and another drawbridge.

As we entered the fort, we were greeted by Spanish, French & British soldiers.

A view of the Plaza de Armas from the gun deck.

Spanish soldiers.

The gun deck.

Jessica checking out the main drawbridge from the gun deck.

Top view of the entrance.

View of the harbor.

David checking out one of the Spanish guns.

Looking from one bastion to another. The diamond shaped bastions provided extra protection.

In the corner of each bastion is a guard tower. Here a lookout would be protected from enemy fire.

People gathering for a canon demonstration.

A view of the shot furnace. This is where the US Army filled in part of the moat in 1842-44. They placed canons on the raised area & built the furnace. Then they would heat the canon balls & fire them at ships. The hot shot would burn the enemy's wooden ships.

Canon firing demonstration.

The guard room. Those who were on active guard duty would sleep here.

A note of some sort of dedication but too eroded to know for sure.

It appears the soldiers practiced writing letters in their spare time.

The heavy gate to the fort entrance.

Model of the Castillo.

Display showing the ownership of the Castillo. It was never defeated, but always traded. Spanish, British, Spanish, US owned it.

Spanish Coat of Arms.

The fort is made of Coquina. It is a unique sedimentary rock made of shell fragments. It is very strong, but also very fragile. It would give when hit by a canon ball & not shatter like concrete would, but the human touch wears it down.

More details on the ownership of the Castillo.

The Plaza de Armas.

One of the many rooms of the fort. Here you can see the original height of the walls. After all the walls were built, they went back & added vaulted ceilings so that they could expand the gun deck above the rooms.

Getting ready for a ranger talk.

The ranger giving a brief history of the Castillo.

Jessica next to one of the British beds. Each bed held 4 men.

The chapel where the Spanish priest conducted mass for the soldiers.

A close up of the wall so you can see the Coquina.

Another room with vaulted ceiling.

The powder rooms were the only 2 rooms built into the Bastion walls. You had to crawl through a little tunnel to get into the 2nd room.

A pirate at the entrance way of the Castillo.

Another look at the dry moat. When the town was under attack, all the people moved into the Castillo. They brought all their livestock & put them in the moat.

The back of the Castillo.

One of the mansions in St. Augustine.

The Old Spanish Trail Zero Milestone. The Old Spanish trail was a highway connecting St. Augustine with San Diego, over 3,000 miles & was built in early 1900s.

The oldest school house in the USA. We were too cheap to pay the $4 per person to see the inside.

A fountain behind the visitor's center. We enjoyed our trip to St. Augustine. But like other historic locations, most attractions/sites were too expensive for us. And there were lots of little shops, which really isn't our thing.



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