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Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle

Discover the Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle in Old Havana, Cuba, one of Cuba’s most ancient castles

Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle
© W. Méndez.

The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is a great sample of military architecture during the Spain's rule over the Caribbean. It is located in the Plaza de Armas Square in Old Havana facing the sea. The Castle, as well as the rest of the old city’s fortifications, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Castle of the Royal Force
Castle of the Royal Force ©W.Méndez
Fortaleza Museum and Royal Force Museum
Fortaleza Museum & Royal Force Museum.

The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is the oldest fortress still preserved in all the Americas. It was built between 1558 and 1577, in the same location where a fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1555.

The west tower is crowned by the copy of a well-known bronze weathervane called La Giraldilla. The original was made in Havana in 1630 and is quite similar to the Giralda of Seville. Nowadays it is on exhibition in the City Museum, located in this square.

The turret is known as Espera Tower due to the legend of Doña Inés de Bobadilla, wife of the Spanish conqueror Hernando de Soto, who became governor of Cuba during her husband’s attempts to conquer La Florida, and climbed to the top of the turret daily, awaiting the return of her husband’s ship. He never returned, dying during said conquest.

The castle is surrounded by an incredible moat, which is currently the Maritime Museum.

It was the residence of the General Governor for around two centuries, and nowadays houses the Fortaleza Museum and Royal Force Museum, where there is a 1:100 scale model exhibition depicting the evolution of the castle based on a 1961 map of the Plaza de Armas Square and its surroundings.

The museum also exhibits several items related to daily life in and purposes of the castle dating from the 16th to the 18th century.


More information:


Calle O’ Really (Plaza de Armas) / Avenida del Puerto, La Habana - Cuba.

Opening Hours:

Approximately from 9:00am to 6:30pm.


(+53) 864 4490.

Mapa Interactivo:

What to see in Old Havana

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