Castillo de San Felipe

The Castle of San Felipe is a National Historic Monument; it was built during the 16th century in Guatemala to protect colonial properties from the continuous attacks of the English pirates that lurked in the Caribbean. Lake Izabal connects with the Caribbean Sea through the Rio Dulce. During that time, English pirates sailed the river to attack Spanish supplies.

The castle has multiple rooms that were used as a center of commercial exchange between Guatemala and Spain. What stands out most about its construction is the Bustamante Tower. It contains nineteen canyons – seventeen made of iron and two of bronze. This defensive fortress, in addition to serving as a military center, functioned as a prison and customs center. Over the years its use was no longer necessary and the Castle of San Felipe de became one of the various tourist attractions in Guatemala, located at the mouth of the Rio Dulce with Lake Izabal.

It was Antonio de Lara y Mogroviejo who was responsible for the design of the request, once the building was completed and in honor of the King of Spain and the designer, the fortress was named the Castle of San Felipe de Lara.

This site was added to the UNESCO’S World Heritage Tentative List on September 23, 2002, in the Cultural category.

It is worth visiting this castle. You can explore a maze of wonderful old rooms and canyons. The site also boasts panoramic views of Lake Izabal and some nice picnic areas.

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Lisa Ramirez Written by:

Graphic Designer, Blog editor, Spanish Teacher.

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