December 30, 2010

Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza

Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza, or known more popularly as Fort Pilar, is a 17th-century fortification built by the Spanish government in Zamboanga City. It was originally called Real Fuerza de San José.

Built in as a star-shaped fortification, the first cornerstone was laid in 1635, the date that also marks the founding of the city.

In its almost 400-year history the fort has endured numerous attacks from pirates, insurgents and the enemies of Spain, including the Dutch attack in 1646, the 1721 attack by 3,000-strong force of Moro pirates, a mutiny in 1792, the British bombardment in 1798, the American colonizers in 1899, and the Japanese troops in 1942.

In 1720 it was renamed in honor of the patron virgin of Spain, Nuestra Señora del Pilar. The virgin was said to have appeared in an apparition in 1897, to save the stationed troops from a surging tsunami.

Today Fort Pilar houses a shrine and a museum.

How to Get There: Fort Pilar is located along Valderozza St. You may take a tricycle to get there. The entrance to the shrine and the museum is free.

pics, from top: entrance to the fort (and museum); the bastion of the fort; the courtyard inside the fort; one of the ruins inside; a scale model shows how the fort would look like if viewed from above

[some info from Wikipedia]

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