The huge fortress, Castillo de San Pedro del Morro, stands at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago, about 10km/6mi southwest of Santiago de Cuba. Located high upon a cliff top, the structure took decades to build and was finally completed at the end of the 17th Century. The original plans were designed by Italian engineer,Giovanni Bautista Antonelli, in 1587, although construction did not begin for almost another 45 years.
Castillo de San Pedro del Morro was originally intended to protect against pirate attacks but has also served as a prison in the late 1700s before being once again converted into a fortress. Today the building contains a small naval museum with displays on the history of the area as well as the history of piracy in Santiago de Cuba.
Castillo del Morro is one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses of the 17th Century and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.