Plaza de Armas & La Alcaldía San Juan, PR
Established in 1521 as the city’s central square, this plaza served mostly as a marketplace until 1851.
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Year Established: 1521
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The Plaza de Armas is located between San Francisco and Fortaleza Streets. Spanish troops practiced military exercises there, giving the plaza its name. Established in 1521 as the city’s central square, it served mostly as a marketplace until 1851. It was then that Governor Don Juan de la Pezuela ordered the plaza’s refashioning into a public promenade adorned with sculptures and fountains. The Alcaldía of San Juan or City Hall can be found in the northern end of this plaza. First raised in 1605 and renovated almost two centuries later, the building’s characteristic twin turrets were not added until 1842. These towers were designed to resemble those of the building’s counterpart in Madrid, Spain. The city’s shield, labored in stone, crowns the structure’s cornice. The solemn nature of the Alcaldía’s grand staircase, which leads to the mayor’s office, is unique among San Juan’s palaces.
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