Puerto Rico struggles to save historic buildings amid crisis

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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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