Cuartel de Ballajá


Located in front of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the Cuartel de Ballajá was built from 1854 to 1864 in order to house the Spanish and Puerto Rican regiments in Old San Juan. After the 1898 invasion by the US Army, the US infantry occupied the Cuartel de Ballajá until 1936. During the Second World War, this structure became a hospital, and in 1976 the Puerto Rican government bought the building. Eventually, this beautiful structure was abandoned and decayed quickly. In 1992, as part of the commemoration of the 5th Centenary of the exchange between Europeans and the native peoples of the Americas, Ricardo Alegría--a famed Puerto Rican archaeologist-- proposed to remodel the Cuartel de Ballajá and create a museum dedicated to the Americas. Nowadays, the Cuartel de Ballajá is perfectly functional and houses the following: a dance school, a music school, the Museo de las Américas, the Puerto Rico Academy of the Spanish Language, and the State Office of Historic Conservation.

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