San German: A Spooky Colonial City


Posted by Cassie

This week we went to San German to do an “estudio” at the beautiful and modern Hospital de la Concepción. Everything went quickly and well so we had time to explore the downtown area a little more after.

Hospital de la concepcion
Clean, professional, efficient and inexpensive medical care!

As we wandered the streets on a Tuesday afternoon we wondered where everyone was! It felt like a ghost town! Downtown San German has a very old, very colonial feel to it especially with its cobblestone and brick roads and ancient buildings.

San German
Quiet streets and mountains in the distance

San German city
Old town San German

San German plaza
Where is everyone??

The one that caught my eye the most as we mosied around I found out was Porta Coeli an old church-turned-museum that was built in 1606. Unfortunately the museum wasn’t open on that Tuesday, but we took photos from the outside.

Old Church San German
Porta Coeli from the old town plaza -very mission style

Cassie off the wall

Cassie church Cassie brick wall Britton church
The stories these walls could tell!

We walked around a bit and took pictures of other buildings and the currently used church which is beautiful as well, but definitely didn’t have the kind of eerie cool feeling that Porta Coeli had in its draw to me.

San German church
Modern Church

Cobblestone streets
Modern church and historic cobblestone roads

Old bldg flowers
A beautiful city!

It was an interesting little walk around the town even if it did have a spooky feel to it. If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, you know what I mean. There is a deep and dark history that puts a sort of shadowy filter over everything it touches. There were virtually no shops open except one. And I smelled it before I saw it. Incense! We walked into the bright little shop and talked with the friendly young clerk. There was a lot of incienso, crystals and religious articles like candles with saints on them. In the glass cases, however, there were other pendants with symbols of things I didn’t recognize though I have seen them on chains worn by many people here. I asked the clerk a lot of questions about what they symbolized and most of them were to bring luck or protection. There was la mano de azabache which is supposed to help ward off the Evil Eye, various warrior Indian heads which were to bring protection, blessed dice and figurines of people who I thought were saints but I learned were Orishas like Chango Macho and Yemaya.

Dos caras
Pendant I saw with 2 caras (faces) to watch your back from bad influences

I asked what type of shop this was called and he said it is a “Botánica” and it was actually rather busy considering there was virtually no one anywhere else in town. From time to time as I looked and asked questions about various articles he would duck behind the counter and fill paper bags with some unknown things and bring them to cars waiting in the street. Other people came in and bought the saint velones (candles) and asked for things in hushed voices. I definitely felt like they knew something more than I did about all of these mystical things! I am realizing there are layers and then there are layers to this Puerto Rican world that are still somewhat mysterious as I try to unravel them in our travels around the island.

Cassie and door edit

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2 thoughts on “San German: A Spooky Colonial City

  1. Annie

    Sometimes when visiting ruins, I’ve felt the same spooky vibe. In Ávila Spain, the heart of the Inquisition, one monastery felt down right creepy, and then we found out a main torture room had been in the basement along with a notorious prison. Some old churches in Mexico and Guatemala had this also. Lots of slavery, torture and mayhem from the Spanish conquistadores in the 1500′s as they took over the mostly peaceful Tainos in P.R. and other less peaceful populations elsewhere through advanced military practice and church acquiescence. Santa Barbara mission is surrounded by Indian burial grounds, but the main patio is downright creepy. No wonder folks are buying curandera charms to ward off angry ghosts. The Chinese believe that angry ghosts (from for example, a murder or torture) can stay with furniture as well as locations.

    Interesting how empty that town is; must be a good mystery story somewhere in there!

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      :) Most everything there is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. For the action, be sure to visit Thursday through Sunday.

      Reply

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