La Fortaleza San Juan, PR
The Governor’s residence is the oldest executive mansion still in use in the entire Western Hemisphere.
historical site


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The Governor’s palace is located at the northern end of Fortaleza Street. La Fortaleza was built between 1532 and 1540, after Spain realized the need to defend the San Juan Bay from foreign attacks. Also known as “El Palacio de Santa Catalina,” its central structure was made up of four walls arranged around a patio. Two circular towers faced the sea from the northern and southern ends. The stone structures had to be rebuilt after they were destroyed in a fire during the Dutch attack of 1625. La Fortaleza served as a military fortress until 1845, when its interiors were remodeled and its main entrance façade was rebuilt in the neoclassical style, acquiring the palatial presence it maintains to this day. The building functions as the Governor’s residence, making it the oldest executive mansion still in use in the entire Western Hemisphere.