This area, encompassing about seven blocks, dates back about 500
years to the Spanish occupation when it served as a military
stronghold that even withstood Sir Francis Drake's armies. The
original cobbles on the streets are blue-tinged, and were
originally used as ballast on Spanish ships. The ancient stones set
off the more than 400 restored 16th- and 17th-century Spanish
colonial buildings that fill Old San Juan and draw thousands of
tourists to walk the narrow, steep streets every day. The old town
is enclosed in amazingly thick, high walls and features numerous
attractive plazas bearing sculptures and memorials.
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