Castle of the Royal Force, Havana

Castle of the Royal Force, Havana

The Castle of the Royal Force was completed in 1577. This limestone fort was intended to guard the bay, but it is a little too far inland for effective defense purposes. It's considered to be the oldest stone fort in the Americas.

In 1634, a watchtower with a sculpted weathervane was added. The weathervane is in the form of a woman. This figure, La Giraldilla, now stands in the fort's museum, and a replica stands in the original location, exposed to the elements. La Giraldilla is an important symbol of Havana and is featured in the Havana Club's logo. The inspiration for the statue is said to have come from Isabel de Bobadilla, Havana's only female governor. She assumed control when her husband, Governor Hernando de Soto, took an expedition to Florida in 1539.

The Castillo de la Real Fuerza now houses a maritime museum. Exhibits cover Cuba's maritime history from pre-Columbus days to today. Don't miss the model of the Santisima Trinidad, which was the largest ship in the world in the 18th century. Visitors will also find maritime artifacts, Colonial silver and gold, and historic navigation tools. Visitors will have an excellent view of the harbor and old Havana from the museum's second level.

Why You Should Visit:
Reasonable price for entry. Impressive canons, serious moat, and the views for the top of the fortress are nothing short of amazing – you can see the fortresses on the other side of Havana, and also get a nice view of the old city. If you're interested in how early ships were built, this is a great place. Staff is very knowledgeable and eager to share their knowledge (as long as you engage them – otherwise, they might as well just stand/sit around an act like guards).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-5pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Havana. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Castle of the Royal Force on Map

Sight Name: Castle of the Royal Force
Sight Location: Havana, Cuba (See walking tours in Havana)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Havana, Cuba

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Create Your Own Walk in Havana

Creating your own self-guided walk in Havana is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Ernest Hemingway is everywhere in Havana and around Cuba. A number of bars and restaurants in the Cuban capital was frequented by the famous writer, and he stayed in Hotel Ambos Mundos and started his work on For Whom the Bell Tolls. Take this self-guided walking tour to visit a few joints that were closely associated with Hemingway during his stay in Havana.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Old Palaces Walking Tour

Old Palaces Walking Tour

Havana has been the seat of royalty for centuries. Now you can walk the streets of Old Havana and explore the palaces of Havana, getting a glimpse into the royal past and heritage of the capital of communist Cuba. The palaces today serve the citizens and visitors of Havana, but they still catch your eye and your mind with their architecture and history.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Old Town Walk

Old Town Walk

The Spanish founded Havana in 1519. After French pirate Jacques de Sores ransacked the city in 1555, the Castle of the Royal Force was built to protect the city.

Havana became a major stopping point between the newly discovered Americas and ancient Europe. In the 1600s, Havana was a major shipbuilding port.

Old Havana is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic city has five...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Discovered and conquered by the Spaniards, Havana has turned into a major religious center of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Although a communist regime is in power at the moment, many of the churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings are preserved and still give a glimpse of the religious heritage of Havana.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles

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