Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos is an 18th-century Spanish fortification in St. Augustine, Florida. Built between 1672 and 1695 to protect the city from attacks during the colonial period, it is one of the oldest and best-preserved Spanish colonial fortifications in the United States. It has served as a symbol of Spanish power and influence throughout its history, and today stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of Spain’s colonial legacy.
The fort has played a significant role in history both as a military structure and as an architectural style that is used extensively throughout Spain and Latin America. A three-tiered star fort with walls nearly six feet thick, the fort stands high above the Matanzas River and is the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States. Its architecture reflects both military engineering prowess as well as traditional Spanish colonial design elements such as thick walls, bastions and moats.
The Castillo was initially constructed by the Spanish to defend Saint Augustine from attack by pirates or foreign enemies and never fell in battle after it’s completion.
Today, it serves not only as a reminder of our nation’s past but also offers visitors a unique glimpse into our shared history. With many demonstrations by rangers and volunteers in period costume, you can experience the firing of the canons and muskets. Park rangers also conduct tours and answer any questions about the fort and life during the 17th century in the Castillo.
The fort is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00pm with an entry fee of $15 for adults, but children 15 and under are admitted free. Military personnel with ID are admitted free with up to 3 guests.