Castillo de San Marcos
Though the Castillo was originally built in the 1670s-1690s, it’s been renovated many times throughout its long and impressive history. The plaza de armas (courtyard) and rooms as they appear today were rebuilt in the mid-1700s. At one time the rooms were much larger and the courtyard much smaller. Shown here is the north wall. The chapel, which was the center of Spanish life at the fort, is marked by a fancy façade that dates from about the 1790s. To see rooms that remain relatively untouched from the late 1600s, check out the artilleryman’s quarters (the room shown here on the east wall, far right). These three inner rooms were sealed up throughout much of the 1700s and 1800s due to being too damp for gunpowder, and were not renovated when the rest of the Castillo was given a major overhaul.
This relatively new attraction, sprawling along the pedestrian paradise of St. George Street, offers history-lovers something special: a chance to walk through St. Augustine era by era and see how things really were for our colonial ancestors. One of the best parts of this walk (at least in my opinion) is that admission to the old De Mesa-Sanchez House (seen above) is included in the ticket price. The lower level of this home was constructed in the early 1700s, while the top level was added sometime later. The separate kitchen and outdoor stair are newer additions. All in all, the house was finished around the 1830s, the time period the home now represents.
(c) 2015 St Augustine Fridays