Fortress "Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua".

Fortress "Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua". It is located at the entrance to the bay of Cienfuegos, south central area of the Island of Cuba, in a community with strong maritime traditions. It is the only Spanish military fortress built in the late eighteenth century Renaissance style. It was declared a National Monument on October 10, 1978 and opened as a museum on March 24, 1998.

Fortress Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua

The Fortress "Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua", was founded in 1745 with the objective of providing defense of the city, and very probably in the entire southern coast of the island aided by the Castle of San Pedro de la Roca in Santiago Cuba.

The facts vary widely spoken, from the sixteenth century, attempts to fortify the bay of Jagua, Cienfuegos current Aboriginal place name, given suitable place to stay and provisioning of privateers and pirates, and the facilities that loneliness of the place provided the contraband trade. However, this goal could not become a fact until the economic interests of the Creole landowners were not affected by the "leak" that represented the unprotected bay.

Fortress Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua, Spanish Colony

In 1554 Jacques de Sores, and Francis Drake in 1586, with John Morgan, Jean Giron Fearless and Gilberto were, each in his time, visitors to the famous filibusters Jagua Bay. With these assets traded inhabitants of the area, smuggling and its other products that lacked the restrictive policy output of the Metropolis.

It was, therefore, until the Royal Society of Commerce of Havana afford such fortification was proposed that in 1733 the military engineer Tantete Dubrulle Joseph was ordered to immediately undertake the construction of the Castillo, 12 years later and would be completed later would become the star of military actions, from the interior of the island, went to the rescue of the capital during the capture of Havana by the English in 1763.

From Fortaleza, there is the scene of naval battles against pirate ships. In most of the opportunities rejected the enemy attack and prevented entry of the ships and crews undesirable. Not infrequently served as a prison to many of those who rebelled against the power of the metropolis. Today, the age-old walls are mute witnesses of centuries of history.

La Fortaleza has architectural features from the European Middle Ages, its vaulted naves and the moat that surrounds it, but its adaptation to the terrain and geometric plant make it a typical American fortifications. It is a genuine expression of Renaissance architecture. The square front steps leading to a drawbridge that rests on pillars and flanking the main entrance, preventing communication with the interior of the fortress.

Fortress Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua before restauration

In the construction of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua were used stones taken from the quarries of Pasacaballo, with a thickness of more than 1.10 m wide. The front door has a rectangular shape topped by a vaulted arch. A spiral staircase connects the two levels of the fortress. The cylindrical tower with its dome-shaped cover defines the maximum height of the building.

In the end of the parade ground, are located two cylindrical booths serve as watchtowers with loopholes designed into the bay and a cistern with a capacity of 100 cubic meters of water. Configured to collect every drop of rain, the water network is fed Castle natural liquid from the top floor, interior walls and runs down to the cistern, which has overflow into the pits.

In good condition is also the belfry with its bell, a gift, according to accounts by Captain San Antonio, known as the arrogant, Doña Leonor, wife of the first commander of the fortress, Don Jose Castilla Cabeza de Vaca in 1762.

Fortress Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua from Cienfuegos Bay

To strengthen the defense system of the port, in 1898, on the eve of U.S. intervention during the Spanish-Cuban American War, were built three batteries of guns and howitzers, adapted to the topography of the land: the hill of Jagua or monitoring, the Lighthouse and Carbonell Villanueva, of which only the latter was in place as a historical record.

During the restoration work that took place between 1922 and 1923, the fortress was transformed into the subsoil of the pit, the chapel and some elements of the building and its surroundings.

Through the exhibition halls can be known about the incursions of pirates and privateers to the territory of the island of Cuba, its conquest and colonization, and the founding of the Villa Fernandina de Jagua, name that was originally named Cienfuegos, in honor the king Fernando VII.

The museum also shows the process of constructing the building and among their most significant are the missiles and artillery pieces from the factory Messy Spain. It also presents fragments of pottery and Spanish tiles, and white firearm used during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the military who were there. The funds are unique religious ethnology and typify the arts and media used in the area for work related to fishing.

The commandant's office is set with a set of Spanish Renaissance style desk, table mat, marble panoply for knives and carved wooden chest, among other pieces that harmonize with the environment officer.

Fortress Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua, Aerial View

In the former chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua, furnished with rustic wooden benches and table, are presented religious objects as prayer book, prayer books, crucifixes, candlesticks. The mural decoration of its walls is considered so far the oldest found in Cienfuegos.

In ancient torture cell where prisoners were subjected to physical martyrdom known as ¨ ¨ raindrop show handcuffs and chains shackles. Much of the collections at the Fort from the findings of archaeological expeditions led by Alfredo Ranquin to the pits of the building.