Plaza del Quinto Centenario is located at the highest point of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, by the entrance to El Morro fortress. The plaza was built in 1992 for a rumoured $10 million to honour the 500-year anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World.
At the southern end of the plaza, two needle-shaped columns point to the north star, which historically guided explorers. Around the plaza are fountains, columns and sculpted steps that represent the various periods within the island’s 500-year history.
At the lower level is a floor fountain that symbolises the first 100 years after the conquest. Two staircases, leading up to the higher level of the plaza, represent another centenial.
In the middle of the upper level stands Totem Telurico, a 12 metre (40 feet) tall totem pole. The sculpture was designed by Puerto Rican artist, Jaime Suarez, as part of the anniversary celebration. Made of clay from across the Americas, Totem Telurico, is meant to signify the origins of the people of the Americas.
- Puerto Rico: Island Tours