Fortress Museum Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua and National Monument.
The building it occupies, due to its historical importance, was declared a National Monument on October 10, 1978, and since March 24, 1998 it has been the headquarters of Fortress Museum Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua.
It is the only military fortification that exists in the five central provinces of the island.
The Fortress Museum Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua is located at the entrance to the bay of Cienfuegos , and is part of the fortification system designed by the Spanish crown.
History of a Fortress …
This unique fortress is built in solid limestone rock, with several floors, a cistern, a watchtower and a moat. It also has a drawbridge in excellent condition, being one of the last that remains suitable for use.
It was built in order to eliminate illegal trade and protect the place. Its construction began in 1733 and concluded in 1745.
This military fort became famous in 1762 when the Taking of Havana by the English, where all the island’s military forces were concentrated and also the strategy to follow for the reconquest of The Capital of Cuba .
Among its singularities, it stands out that it was the scene of combats against ships that tried to penetrate Villa Fernandina de Jagua and also served as a prison for those who were not in favor of the colony.
The first settlers settled near it, later others came from Spain to engage in line fishing.
A fortress converted into the Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua Fortress
Since 1998, the Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua Fortress is a Museum to tell its visitors the unique history of the city and that part of the city.
In its rooms it is told how the fortress was built, the main architects of the work, the founding of the Villa Fernandina de Jagua, as well as artillery pieces, Spanish projectiles, some firearms and others used by the soldiers in the 18th and 19th centuries against the aggression of pirates and corsairs.
Shackles, chains, handcuffs and objects of physical torture are also on display in the old cell.
In the same way, different fishing gear is displayed, furniture of the Spanish Renaissance style, carved wooden chest, religious objects and a religious mural, the oldest in Cienfuegos. Very close to that site is the city’s Dolphinarium.
The rooms of this unique construction display objects, documents and models that tell the aboriginal history in the Pearl of the South , that of the smuggling of corsairs and pirates, as well as the commanders of the fortification and marine heritage.
For its part, the Chapel, the first of its kind in the region, has a fresco created in the 1830s, and recently retouched.
A fortress with tales and legends …
There are several legends that surround the Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua Fortress.
One of them tells about the cawing and circling of a bird over the military compound with the consequent nocturnal appearance of a female ghost wrapped in a blue dress and with her head covered by a veil also of the same color.
It is also said that a recently arrived young officer ignored the advice of his companions and launched himself to meet the apparition in the chapel of the fortress where Dona Leonor de Cárdenas, wife of the first commander of the garrison, Juan Cabeza de Vaca, had been buried. .
The guard found him on the floor, unconscious and wrapped in a large blue cloak the next morning. Since then he has been held in a center for people with mental disorders.