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Morro and Cabaña
The Castle of Los Tres Reyes del Morro is the most symbolic of the Cuban fortresses. Its construction began in 1589 and finished in 1630 on the Eastern part of the access channel to Havana’s harbour, by hands of the Italian Militar Engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli.

This fortress is like an irregular polygon because the builders had to adapt the construction to the shape of the reef on which they built it.

It was a strong defense trench against the frequent corsair and pirate attacks. In 1792, when the English tried to take Havana, the castle resisted during several weeks the attack of the army and the marine troops. The invaders could take Havana only after exploding a mine inside the Castle’s walls.

Few years after its construction, a lighthouse was annexed to the Castle. At the beginning it was made of lime and stone and used wood as fuel. In 1845, this lighthouse was replaced by one of 45 meters tall over the sea level, the same that we see today and it constitutes one of the most emblematic images of Cuba.

After its restoration in 1986, the Castle and San Carlos de la Cabaña fortresses became the Historical Militar Park Morro-Cabaña. As it is popularly know in Cuba, the Morro is a great historical museum.

Visiting the museum means to get in touch with a history full of legends, to jump into time and go back to the ancient and romantic times of corsairs and pirates…, to admire the city from its walls, to climb the lighthouse and keep beautiful images of Havana City in your mind, to enjoy the most charming sunsets in the “Queen’s Balcony”, to let your imagination fly and imagine your adventures when watching the exposition “Los Grandes Viajes” (The Great Journeys), which show the main maritime expeditions that Spain and Portugal made during the XV and XVI Centuries.

San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress has a polygon shape formed by bulwarks, moats, covered roads, barracks and warehouses.

Since its construction, important units of the Spanish army stayed there. During the Independence wars, a lot of patriots such us our National Hero, Jose Marti, went to jail there and lots of them were shooted in the Laurel Moat.

On January 3rd, 1959, Commander Ernesto Che Guevara took this fortress and settled his headquarters there, which is a museum now a days that shows documents and possessions of the unforgettable Guerrilla Man.

Since its construction, La Cabaña is closely related with one of the most strong traditions in Havana City:

The Nine O’clock Cannon Shot. In colonial times, at 4:30 am and at 8:00 pm, a cannon shot was fired from the captain ship in the harbour to mark the opening and closing of the doors of the wall that surrounded the city, and the put and removal of the chain (from the Castillo de La Punta to the Castillo del Morro ) that closed the Harbour’s entrance.

After the Cabaña was built, the cannon shot was made indistinctly from the ship and from the fortress.

After the Walls were toppled, the cannon shot, an hour later this time, became a tradition that we keep alive today and it is useful for the people of Havana to check the time in their watches. The Ceremony of the Nine O’clock Cannon Shot, made by soldiers dressed in the uniforms of the XVIII Century is, now a days, one of the most attractive activities that the place offers every day to its visitors.

The restoration of the Cabaña fortress began in 1986 and it was open to the public in 1991.
Morro and Cabaña
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