Beautiful might not be the word you expect to be associated with a fort, but many of the older ones really are just that. Built for protection, these forts have very thick walls punctuated by narrow windows. The windows were not primarily for lighting, but were built especially for shooting out of while making it difficult to shoot in. Nevertheless, the lighting they provide is rhythmic and and soft.
The thickness of the walls was a protective move as well, but they also help to keep the interior of the forts cool. Even in the middle of summer, the interior of Ft. Barrancas is cool and pleasant, which may be partially responsible for its popularity.
The fort consists of two concentric trapezoids both built of bricks. The walls of the inner part are higher, and smoothly arched. Each corner of this part ends in a vaulted room. The outer portion has lower ceilings, and much of it is left unpainted.
While the fort is impressive, it is not until you reach the interior courtyard that you can clearly see why it was situated where it is. Now, we see stunning vistas of Pensacola Bay, but at the time it was built, these vistas were strategic, allowing for early warning of intruders into the waters around Pensacola.