Places - Cuba's Eastern Region

Castle of San Pedro de la Roca-Santiago

A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997, the San Pedro fortress sits impregnably atop a 60 meter high promontory at the entrance to Santiago Harbor. The stupendous views from the upper terrace take in the wild western ribbon of Santiago's coastline backed by the velvety Sierra Maestra mountain range. The fort was designed in 1587 by famous Italian military engineer, Juan Bautista Antonelli to protect Santiago from pillaging pirates who had successfully sacked the city in 1554. Due to financial constraints, the building work didn't start until 1633 (17 years after Antonelli's death) and it carried on sporadically for the next 60 years. In the interim British privateer Henry Morgan sacked and partially destroyed it. It was restored in the 1960s. Today, the fort hosts the swashbuckling Museo de Piratería, with another room given over to the US-Spanish naval battle that took place in the bay in 1898.