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Photographer's Note

Cruceta El Vigia (El Vigia Cross) is a 100-foot-tall cross located atop Vigia Hill in Ponce, Puerto Rico, directly in front of the Serralles Castle museum. It houses a tourist center at its base, a 10 story vertical tower, and a horizontal sky bridge that has panoramic views of the city of Ponce and the Caribbean sea. Visitors can reach the skybridge via glass elevators or a stair case.

One of many landmarks of the city of Ponce, the cross is owned by the Municipality of Ponce and is currently operated by the "Patronato de Ponce", a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and administrating several of the city's landmarks.

The cross sits at the same spot on Vigia Hill where early Spanish settlers once looked out for merchant ships and would-be invaders, including marauding pirates. In 1801, the settlers built a much smaller cross made of two intersecting tree trunks where an observer would constantly watch the sea and the city's port, raising different flags to either notify local merchants of incoming trade ships or alert military authorities of possible threats (a replica of this wooden cross now sits behind the current monument). The Vigia Hill also served as a refugee camp for citizens during a storm on September 12, 1738, an earthquake on May 10, 1787, a tsunami on November 18, 1867, and the United States invasion on July 25, 1898.

Made of reinforced concrete, the cross has withstood various natural disasters, including 3 major hurricanes. The Vigia Hill is right next to Mameyes Hill, site of the famed mudslide disaster in 1985. A monument dedicated to the victims of the disaster can be seen from the skybridge. At the base entrance there's a plaque to commemorate the sacrifice made by brothers Ricardo and Alberto Lugo. They served as lookout for pirates for many years at the site of the cross.

In recent years, a Japanese Garden was built in the grounds nearby the Cruceta. The garden is located in a 2,223 square meter ground. Its purpose is to encourage spiritual peace and harmony by the means of nature and Zen music. The garden features small lakes, rivers, bonsais, and bridges.

This photo was taken from within the Japanese Gardens.

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Additional Photos by JC Ramos (jramos) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 47 W: 26 N: 141] (507)
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