Guam Historical and Cultural Landmarks
Guam has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage with 118 sites currently listed on the U.S. National and 155 on the Guam Registers of Historical Sites. Other sites of interest relate to Chamorro culture and legends. Historical parks, statues and scenic overlooks are scattered all over the island and most are free to the public. Below is an overview of some of the better known sites. Click on a thumbnail for a larger image. Get a map from your hotel, rental car company, or the Guam Visitors Bureau and visit these and many more sites.
|Latte Stone Park
Latte Stone Park. Latte Stones are pillars on which ancient Chamorro houses were constructed as early as 500 A.D. Found nowhere else in the world, Latte Stones have become a signature of Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Original Latte Stones were comprised of two pieces, a supporting column (halagi), made from coral limestone, and topped with a capstone (tasa), made from coral heads which were usually carried several miles from the quarry site or reef to the house. Customarily, bones of the ancient Chamorro’s and their possessions, such as jewelry or canoes were buried below the stones. Latte Stones are respected and are untouched. Human interlopers at Latte sites may encounter Taotaomoa, or ancestral Chamorro spirits. Today, many Latte sites can be found in Northern Guam. Replicas and images of Latte Stones can also be seen all around the Marianas. Shown here are eight Latte Stones located in Latte Stone Park in central Hagatna where they were transferred from their original location in Me’pu in Guam’s Southern interior.
|Puntan Dos Amantes
Two Lovers Cliff
Two Lovers Point. During the time of the Spanish rule, two star crossed lovers plunged to their deaths at this site rather than being separated. As the legend (Puntan Dos Amantes) goes, the daughter of a wealthy Spanish aristocrat and Chamorro, herself the daughter of great chief, was promised, against her will, to a Spanish Captain.
|Looking Down Face of
Two Lovers Cliff
The disillusioned daughter, walking along the beach to calm her feelings, met and fell in love with a young Chamorro man. When the father found out about the young Chamorro and demanded that the daughter marry the Captain, she fled and met her lover near the cliff where they first met. Discovering that his daughter was gone, the father told the Captain that she had been kidnapped and Spanish soldiers were sent to bring her and the man back. Trapped on the point, the two lovers tied their hair together and plunged to their deaths rather than being separated. On this site today sits Two Lovers Point Park with an observation platform jutting out over the cliff that provides breathtaking views of the cliff and rocks below as well as Tumon Bay.
maga’låhi of Hagatna
Chief Quipuha Park. Quipuha was the Chief of Hagatna when the Jesuits led by Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores arrived in 1668. Chief Quipuha accepted the Catholic religion and was the first Chamorro Chief to permit himself to be baptized. As Chief, or high-ranking male in the Chamorro matriarchal society of the time, Quipuha had the authority to hand down decisions with the advice and consent of the highest ranking woman in his clan. He granted the land on which the first Catholic Church in Guam was constructed. His statue today stands in Chief Quipuha Park in the center of the Hagatna traffic circle on Marine Corps Drive.
|Tumon Catholic Church
San Vitores Road
Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores. Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores led the Jesuit missionaries who arrived on Guam in 1668. In 1672, Padre San Vitores and his Filipino assistant were killed by Chief Mata’pang of TomHom, present day Tumon, for baptizing the Chief’s baby girl at the mother’s request, but without the Chief’s consent. The death of Padre San Vitores lead to all-out war that nearly resulted in extinction of the Chamorro race.
|Chief Mata’pang slays
Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores
The Catholic Church however continued to exert considerable influence over the people of Guam. Padre San Vitores Road in Tumon bears his name and his statue stands in the courtyard of the Tumon Catholic Church on San Vitores Road. Chief Mata’pang legacy was not as glorious. He was pursued by the Spaniards and killed on the Island of Rota in 1680. Having been vilified for the incident that sparked the decimation of the pure Chamorro race, the name Mata’pang has evolved to mean, possibly unfairly, someone who foolishly resists progress. A shrine and statue of Padre San Vitores baptizing the Chief’s daughter, with the mother and sword wielding Chief standing over them, stands at the location of the slaying between the Guam Reef Hotel and Sails restaurant.
|Plaza de Espana
17th Century Spanish Governor’s Palace
|Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana. The Plaza de Espana, located in central Hagatna, served as the Governor’s Palace during the Spanish, American and Japanese occupations, from 1734 until 1944 when when most of the buildings were destroyed during the shelling of Hagatna during the retaking of Guam in World War II. There are three structures still standing including the three-arch gate to Almacen (Arsena), the Azotea or back porch, and the Chocolate House.
|San Antonio Bridge
from Spanish Occupation
San Antonio Bridge. The San Antonio Bridge (To’lai Acho or stone bridge) was constructed by the Spanish in the 1800’s to span the Hagatna River. The original bridge survived the shelling of Hagatna in World War II and continued in use after the War. During the rehabilitation of Hagatna that began in 1945, the river was filled but the bridge was spared and today has been relocated and stands in a small park located across Marine Corps Drive from the Hagatna Marina. On the Northern side of the bridge, you will see “Sirena the Mermaid”, a Legend of Guam culture.
Built in 1785
Tailafak Bridge. The Talifak Bridge was one of many small bridges along the El Camio Real, the old Spanish Coastal Road running from Hagatna to Umatac over which the Spanish transported supplies. Constructed in 1785, the Tailafak Bridge is one of the few original examples of Spanish architecture that still stand in their original locations. Today the Tailafak still spans the same small river it did in 1785, just South of the Agat Marina and Nimitz Beach Park and approximately 30 feet West of Route 1 which was built further away from the beach than the original Coastal Road.
|Fort Santa AguedaGuards Hagatna Bay|
|Fort Santa AugedaGuards Hagatna Bay|
Fort Santa Agueda. Constructed in 1800, Fort Santa Agueda occupied a commanding position overlooking Hagatna Bay and the city of Hagatna. The cannon of Fort Agueda served to protect Hagatna harbor and the lucrative Galleon trade until the Spanish American War when in 1898 when an American frigate entered Hagatna harbor with guns blazing. Hagatna was surrendered the next day. Today the old Spanish cannon still point out over Hagatna Bay from the remnants of Fort Santo Agueda located in Hagatna Heights adjacent to the Governor’s residence.
|Fort SoledadGuards Umatic Bay|
|Fort SoledadGuards Umatic Bay|
Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad. Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad was one of the last Spanish Forts constructed in the 19th Century in support of the Spanish Galleon trade. Sitting on the cliff just to the South of Umatac, Fort Soledad has a commanding view of the Bay and all Ocean approaches. The Fort was restored in 1995 and today the cannon of Fort Soledad still point out over the Pacific Ocean and Umatac Bay where Magellan landed in 1521 to make the first contact between Guam and the West.
|Fort Santo Angelo
Foundation Ruins in Merizo
Fort Santo Angel. Fort Santo Angel was one of four Spanish forts in the Umatic area and the oldest still in existence. Perched on a rock on the Northwest tip of Umatic Bay, Fort Santo Angel served more as a watchtower than an armed fortification. Today only some of the walls remain. A third and smaller lookout, San Jose, was constructed closer to the water’s edge on the Northern tip of Umatic as Fort Santo Angel started to deteriorate near the end of the Galleon era. By the 1850’s, both forts were in ruins.