Puerto Rico struggles to save historic buildings amid crisis

FILE - In this July 29, file 2015 photo, the Puerto Rican flag flies in front of Puerto Rico's Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Congress edged closer to delivering relief to debt-stricken Puerto Rico as the Senate on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, cleared the way for passage of a last-minute financial rescue package for the territory of 3.5 million Americans. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)

 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s prized historic buildings are falling apart as a debt crisis and enduring economic recession slash public and private funding for maintenance, repairs and restoration.

Stained glass windows from the 16th century are broken. Porch railings from the 1700s are missing. Brick walls crumble inside the hall where Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States.

Tourists are increasingly banned from visiting once-popular sites now in dangerous disrepair.

An architect says nearly 40 key buildings in the metropolitan area are in danger of being lost.

The majority are in the historic part of Puerto Rico’s capital known as Old San Juan, founded in 1521 and governed by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. It is a top attraction with its blue cobblestone streets, colorful homes and expansive ocean views.

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