Old San Juan

Established in 1509, Old San Juan is Puerto Rico’s oldest settlement. The city lies on a small island located along the north coast and three bridges connect it to the mainland: Puente San Antonio, Puente Dos Hermanos and Puente G. Esteves. The settlement consists of seven square blocks. To the west is the oldest section, with the northern division comprised primarily of residential areas. The commercial district lies in the southern region. In 1966, the city was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many buildings constructed in the 16th and 17th century remain intact. A Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, founded the initial settlement in 1508. Formerly known as Caparra, the origin of the name came from the Province of Caceres, Spain. In 1509, the original establishment was moved to a new location, known as “Puerto Rico.” The formal name “San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico” was changed again in 1521.