Castillo Libertador

Venezuela

North of the old town, and separated from it by the entrance channel to the harbor, is colonial Fortín San Felipe, later renamed Castillo Libertador. It’s a fine-looking fort, though in a state of disrepair. It was constructed in the 1730s to protect the port and warehouses. During the War of Independence, the fort was for a time in the patriots’ hands, but it was lost to the royalists in 1812. The fort was recovered in 1823, and later served General Gómez as a jail. Upon Gómez’ death in 1935, the prison closed down and no less than 14 tons of chains and leg irons were thrown into the sea. The fort is within the naval base, and tourists need authorization to visit – only groups of 20 or more are permitted.