Old San Juan

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Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a wonder. Walk down the centuries-old blue cobblestone streets and you’ll see brightly colored historic buildings. The city, by the way, was nearly destroyed. The Spanish settled old San Juan in the early 1500s after they took over the land from the Tainos. By the late 1940s, however, Old San Juan slowly deteriorated and became frail, unsightly, and dangerous. The politicians decided that the old historic buildings should be demolished to give way to the construction of modern ones. Thankfully, an anthropologist by the name of Ricardo Alegría stepped in and convinced the authorities to preserve the beautiful colonial architecture of Old San Juan and to zone the area so that ensuing development would follow the historic visual pattern instead of taking it down.