This week, they came on horseback, marched through the streets and prayed as the nation’s oldest city turned 450 years old.
“This is a very historic place,” said Noemi Alvarez, who was visiting from Michigan.St. Augustine and the nation’s origins date back to 1565 when Spanish explorer don Pedro Menendez came ashore in what’s now St. Johns County.”To know we were here first, it gave me that wonderful feeling that part of my history is here,” said Indira Moran, of her Spanish heritage.
Last weekend, more than 16,000 people flooded St. Augustine, forcing roads and bridges to be closed to vehicle traffic. With the Labor Day weekend 450th celebrations winding down, September is a great time to discover a weekend worth of history that’s still alive.Cannon blasts are heard each weekend at the Castillo de San Marcos.”They tabled it as a castle,” said National Park Service Park Ranger Chris Levertt. “Translation is Castle of St. Mark.”Now almost 344 years old, the Castillo de San Marcos, commonly referred to as “the fort,” is now a National Park site that offers cannon firings Friday through Sunday, tours into how soldiers lived and battled behind the coquina rock walls and even a hidden room ready to explore.