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Castle of San Pedro de la Roca
World Heritage Sites
Carretera de El Morro km. 8. Santiago de Cuba
It was built between the years 1638 and 1643 by the

famous military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli and,

together with La Socapa and La Estrella, is part of

the defensive system of the Santiago bay, described as

the largest and most complete example of European

Renaissance military engineering applied in the

conditions of the Caribbean.

The objective of its construction was to safeguard the

city of Santiago against a naval attack. The proposal

came then from the governor of the province, Pedro de

la Roca y Borja; hence its name. And it was the

celebrated Italian engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli,

who had formerly been in charge of the Castillo de los

Tres Reyes del Morro fortification (Havana), who

directed the production and design works, in such a

way that they could take advantage of the defensive

and offensive possibilities of the ground on which it

stands: the hill by the Santiago harbor.

Reconstructed and renovated many times, it is

considered an architectural resource of unquestionable

aesthetic and historical value, where you can notice

the trace of the military art developed in Italy,

Spain and Cuba between the 17th and 19th centuries.

In December of 1997, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee

decided to include the San Pedro de la Roca castle in

the World Heritage List. Then, on 25 July 1998, the

city of Santiago de Cuba held the ceremony of

proclamation of San Pedro de la Roca as a Heritage of

Humanity. Mr. Bernd von Droste, director of the World

Heritage Center, invited to Cuba for this celebration,

addressed to those present the words with which this

colonial fortress –which he described as a “remarkable

example of Spanish-American military architecture"—was

officially registered in the World Heritage List.

At present, the Morro harbors the Museo de la

Piratería (Museum of Piracy), and for the immediate

future it is projected to integrate this site – and

its protection area –which also includes key Granma in

the harbor—into a historic-military park.

The installation has been declared National Monument

by Resolution No. 009 of December 25, 1979 and

protected by the National Assembly of People’s Power’s

(parliament) Law No. 2, “Law on National and Local

Monuments” of August 4, 1977.

The Castle –of great value from the historical,

artistic and scientific points of view— was placed in

its nominative record under the category of Cultural

Heritage, based on the fact that it is made up of a

group of separate buildings connected by their

architecture, homogeneity and site. It is a hallmark

of the city as well as a customary place for visits

and recreation, because of the beauty and majesty of

the fortress and of the environment where it is


This site–a singular exponent of an important stage of

universal history—because of its permanency,

authenticity and exceptional nature, constitutes a

cultural heritage due to the harmonic integration that

comes from the interaction of Man's hand and Nature.

This concept is extended to the protection area, in

which there is a number of cavernous components

disseminated in a mainly natural environment, as a

cultural landscape, together with other works and

groups of patrimonial interest, such as La Estrella

fortress, the batteries of La Socapa, the La Avanzada

forts, the fort of Comunicaciones, the No.1 and 2, the

Morro Lighthouse and key Granma’s architectural


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