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San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba

San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba

Commercial and political rivalries in the Caribbean region in the 17th century resulted in the construction of this massive series of fortifications on a rocky promontory, built to protect the important port of Santiago. This intricate complex of forts, magazines, bastions and batteries is the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles.

Château de San Pedro de la Roca, Santiago de Cuba

Les rivalités commerciales et politiques dans la région des Caraïbes au XVIIe siècle ont abouti à la construction de cette série massive de fortifications sur un promontoire rocheux, afin de protéger l'important port de Santiago. Cet ensemble compliqué de forts, de magasins, de bastions et de batteries est l'exemple le mieux préservé d'architecture militaire hispano-américaine basée sur des principes de conception d'origine italienne et de style Renaissance.

قصر سان بيدور دي لا روكا، سانتياغو

أدّت الخصوم التجاريّة والسياسيّة في منطقة الكاريبي في القرن السابع عشر إلى بناء هذه السلسلة العظيمة من الحصون على نتوء صخريّ لحماية مرفأ سانتياغو العظيم. يُشكّل هذا المجموع المعقّد من القلاع والمتاجر والحصون وسريّة المدفعيّة المكان الأفضل صيانةً في الهندسة العسكريّة الإسبانيّة الأمريكيّة المبنيّة على مبادئ البناء الإيطالي الأصل والنهضوي الطراز.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古巴圣地亚哥的圣佩德罗德拉罗卡堡

17世纪,加勒比海地区商业和政治竞争促使人们在坚如岩石的海岬上修建了这一规模庞大的防御工事,用以保护重要港口圣地亚哥。 这一复杂的建筑群是根据意大利文艺复兴原理设计的,包括有堡垒、军火库、棱堡和炮台,是西班牙裔美洲人的军事建筑中保存最完整、最好的一个。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Крепость Сан-Педро-де-ла-Рока в городе Сантьяго-де-Куба

Торговое и политическое соперничество в Карибском регионе в XVII в. сделало строительство мощного комплекса укреплений, расположенных на скалистом мысе, необходимым для защиты важного порта Сантьяго. Сложный комплекс фортов, складов, бастионов и батарей – это наиболее целостный и хорошо сохранившийся пример испано-американской военной архитектуры, основанной на принципах проектирования итальянского Возрождения.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca en Santiago de Cuba

Las rivalidades comerciales y políticas en la región del Caribe durante el siglo XVII tuvieron por resultado la construcción de este castillo, conjunto masivo de fortificaciones erigido en lo alto de un promontorio rocoso para proteger el importante puerto de Santiago. Este intrincado complejo de fuertes, polvorines, bastiones y baterías, edificado con arreglo a los principios de diseño de la Italia renacentista, es el ejemplo más completo y mejor conservado de la arquitectura militar española en América.

source: UNESCO/ERI

サンティアゴ・デ・クーバのサン・ペドロ・デ・ラ・ロカ城

source: NFUAJ

Kasteel van San Pedro de la Roca, Santiago de Cuba

De commerciële en politieke rivaliteit in het Caribisch gebied in de 17e eeuw, leidde tot de bouw van een enorme reeks forten op een rotsachtig voorgebergte. Ze werden gebouwd om de belangrijke haven van Santiago te beschermen. Het kasteel van San Pedro de la Roca en de bijbehorende forten en bastions vormen het meest complete, best bewaard gebleven voorbeeld van een Spaans-Amerikaanse militaire architectuur, gebaseerd op Italiaanse en Renaissance ontwerpprincipes. Het is gebouwd op een voorgebergte met steile kliffen van meer dan 20 meter hoog. Het terrein bestaat uit verschillende vestingonderdelen op een reeks terrassen boven elkaar, verbonden door een reeks trappen.

Source: unesco.nl

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San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba © Silvan Rehfeld
Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe this property on the basis of criteria (iv) and (v), considering that the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca and its associated defensive works are of exceptional value because they constitute the largest and most comprehensive example of the principles of Renaissance military engineering adapted to the requirements of European colonial powers in the Caribbean.

Long Description

The Castle of San Pedro de la Roca and its associated defensive works are of exceptional value because they constitute the largest and most comprehensive example of the principles of Renaissance military engineering adapted to the requirements of European colonial powers in the Caribbean.

Its exceptional location and its adaptation to the topography puts the castle into a widely recognized group of three such fortresses designed by the famous father and son military architects, Bautista and Juan Bautista Antonelli, the others being the Castle of the Three Kings in Havana (Cuba) and San Sebastian Castle in San Juan (Puerto Rico). The authenticity of the castle is high because it underwent little change from the late 19th century, when it went out of use, until the 1960s, when restoration work began.

With the growth of shipping in the Caribbean and the policy of Philip II of fortifying the Spanish colonies there after losing naval supremacy in 1588, a ravelin and battery were installed between 1590 and 1610 on the south-western beach of the promontory. This fortification was built to protect the entrance to the town of Santiago de Cuba.

As the conflict between Spain and England grew in the 17th century, the governor of the town, Pedro de la Roca y Borja, began the construction of a stone fortress, linked with the existing ravelin , following the visit of Juan Bautista Antonelli in 1638.

English expansion in the Caribbean had repercussions for Santiago de Cuba, which had been involved in the conflict. An English attack in 1662 led the destruction to the castle. It was rebuilt and substantially enlarged in 1663-69.

The castle was weakened by earthquakes in 1675, 1678 and 1679, but it was reconstructed and consolidated in 1693-95. After a short period of relative tranquillity, England adopted an aggressive stance again in 1738-40 and so further enlargement was carried out. The castle suffered from earthquake damage in 1757 and 1766, when the opportunity was taken to incorporate more recent developments in military architecture.

The castle of San Pedro de la Roca, with its associated batteries of La Estrella and Santa Catalina by the canal leading to the port of Santiago de Cuba and the battery of Aguadores on the southern coast, protect the bay of Santiago. The castle is representative of the Spanish-American school of military architecture; it is a classic bastioned fortification, Italian in origin and of Renaissance design. It is built on a promontory with steep cliffs rising to more than 20m. The terrain is such that the various elements could be built in a series of terraces, one above another, and linked by a series of stairways.

The oldest part of the castle is La Lengua del Agua Ravelin, where the fortification of this strategically important promontory began in 1590. It is at the lowest level, just above high-water mark. In addition to the fortified gun platform, it consists of a powder magazine, a command building and a guard post.

Next comes the Santísimo Sacramento Platform, the elements of which include gun emplacements, a powder magazine and quarters for its garrison. The whole of this part of the castle took its present form during the mid-18th-century reconstruction, and it was at this time that the North and South Bastions were added.

The Santísima Trinidad Platform is the highest level of the main castle, and was built in the 1660s. To the north lies the La Avanzada Fort, which completes the chain of smaller defensive works down the north side of the promontory, consisting of La Estrella Fort and two smaller forts built in the 1660s. Later additions were the Semaphore Tower, the Chapel of Santo Cristo and the Lighthouse, all built in 1840, and two batteries, Scopa Alta and Vigia, built from prefabricated concrete in 1898 at the time of the Spanish-American War.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

With the growth of shipping in the Caribbean and the policy of Philip II of fortifying the Spanish colonies there after losing naval supremacy in 1588, a ravelin and battery were installed between 1590 and 1610 on the south-western beach of the promontory (marra, from wh.ich the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca derives its alternative name, the Morro de San Sebastian, and its popular name in Cuba, El Marra). This fortification was built to protect the entrance to the town of Santiago de Cuba.

As the conflict between Spain and England grew in the 17th century the governor of the town, Pedro de la Roca y B01ja, began the construction of a stone fortress, linked with the existing ravelin, following the visit of the noted military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli in 1638.

English expansion in the Caribbean reached its high point with the conquest of Jamaica in 1655. This had repercussions for Santiago de Cuba, wh.ich had been involved in the conflict. An English attack in 1662 led to the destruction of the castle. However, it was rebuilt and substantially enlarged in 1663-69. lts efficacy was demonstrated by the frustration of attacks by the French in 1678 and by the freebooter Franquesma in 1680. As a result the town enjoyed almost total security from the "Coast Brotherhood."

The Castle was weakened by earthquakes in 1675, 1678, and 1679, but it was reconstructed and consolidated in 1693-95. After a short period of relative tranquility, England adopted an aggressive stance again in 1738-40, and so further enlargement was carried out. When the English Admiral Vernon blockaded Santiago in 1741 he did not attempt to storm the Castle, choosing instead to land at Guant3namo, from whence he was dislodged with heavy losses. An attack on the Castle led by Admirai Knowles in 1747 was repulsed.

The Castle suffered from earthquake damage in 1757 and, more drastically, in 1766, but it was once again restored, when the opportunity was taken to incorporate more recent developments in military architecture. From 1775 the Castle served also as a prison and many important political figures were imprisoned there.

It underwent many vicissitudes during the political tumult and unsuccessful revolts against the Spanish during much of the 19th century. Some minor additions were made to it, the last in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. It declined during the 20th century owing to lack of maintenance, until it was restored by Francisco Prat Puig in the 1960s.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation