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.
Old Palaces Walking Tour

Old Palaces Walking Tour

Havana has been the seat of Cuba’s ruling gentry for centuries. Today, you can walk the streets of Old Havana and explore its palaces to get a glimpse into the city’s royal past. Although these structures now serve Havana’s citizens and visitors, they still catch your eye (and your camera lens!) with their architecture and history.

Start your trip with the ornate Presidential Palace,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Historical Churches and Cathedrals Walking Tour

Discovered and conquered by Spanish colonists in the early 16th century, Havana has turned into a major religious center of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Although a communist regime is currently in power, many of the churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings have been preserved and still give a glimpse of the city’s religious heritage.

The old Havana Cathedral, located in a...  view more

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

Old Town Walking Tour

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
Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Hemingway's Havana Walking Tour

Ever since Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928 until his death in 1961, he felt an intense connection with the people and culture of Cuba. Hemingway lived at Hotel Ambos Mundos during the 1930s, and began, wrote, and finished several novels there. Today, you can see some of Hemingway's belongings in Room 511.

Hemingway was a frequent patron at El Floridita, famous for its daiquiris....  view more

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

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