The military building and fortification San Cristóbal is located in the colonial town Gracias (Lempira) in Honduras. In 1544 the town was the capital of the ‘New Spain’ and has since then been a strategical town. The first building on the hill ‘San Cristóbal’ was already build in the XVII century under the Spanish. Now only two cannons – which were originally placed at another fortification – remember these days. The cannons carry the emblem of king Carlos IV of Spain, a historical evidence that the Spanish have been in Honduras.
The fortification as you see it now, was constructed on demand of the academic and former president Juan Lindo, who feared an invasion by Guatemala. He ordered the construction already in 1850, but it was not until 1863 that the construction work began. The fortification was finished between 1875 and 1876 and served to defend the town against the enemies. Later is was used as a strategical military base during the civil war in the 1930ies.
You can see the whitewashed walls of the building already from far away. The white paint still resemble the original colour of the fortification. The building counts various watchtowers and you can see the holes along its walls, where the firearms and cannons were located. In the center of the fortification you will find a square building. This were the former headquarters, gunpowder room and hospital for the soldiers. Nowadays, you will find a small museum inside this building, explaining the history of the place and the use of fortification. In honor of the former president Juan Lindo, you will also find his tomb inside the walls of San Cristóbal.
The fortification is located at a geostrategic place, on top of a small hill. This permits you – and in former times the soldiers – to have a nice panoramic view over the city and the surroundings. You can enter the watchtowers and peak through the gun holes or walk along the the walls of the fortification. The name San Cristóbal most probably relates to the christian Saint with the same name, who is known for its physical strength and giant figure. For this reason many fortifications carry the name San Cristóbal.
Walk down the main street Avenida Principal until you see a sign for 'Casa Galeanao', pass the museum and on your right side you will see a huge iron gate. That is the entrance to the fortification.