You can explore the San Miguel Fort, near the town of Chuy, Uruguay. This popular tourist attractions is one of the most prominent historical landmarks in this south american country’s history.
The stone remnants of this manmade fortification still stand as testament to the valiant struggles of several armies as they battled to rule the land that is now known as Uruguay.
You will not see a pristine, rebuilt fortress but you will be afforded a unique opportunity to witness a historical site that was once the site where some of the land’s most ferocious wars occurred. The huge stones, once used in the building of the San Miguel fort, will engage your imagination and hearts more than a replicated fortress ever could.
The history of this military structure is nearly 300 years old yet to the Uruguay people this history is as fresh and poignant as though the battles had taken place within their lifetime.
A winding road leads from the town to the actual hill on which this fort was first constructed. Tourists are often fascinated by the beauty of the landscape and scenery that line this route.
Tall trees and rolling green hills hold your eye and will easily capture your imagination as you travel back in time and back in history to a place where the history of an independent Uruguay nation first began to take place.
The Spaniards began construction on the San Miguel fort in 1734. At this time they were concerned about creating a structure that would help them cement their dominance of the region. They used large, heavy stones to create the tall towers, thick walls and sturdy ramparts that would distinguish San Miguel fort.
During this time there was a great deal of turmoil in this South American region. The native peoples and armies from other countries were eager to challenge Spain for the right to claim ownership of this region of the Americas.
Only 3 years after the San Miguel fort was completed the armies of the Portuguese empire wrested control away from the Spanish army. This was not to be the end of the struggles however. Fierce battles were waged again and again both in and around the grounds on which the San Miguel fort in Chuy Uruguay stood.
The San Miguel fort in Chuy Uruguay was a proud survivor of the many wars that were fought in this region of Uruguay. Eventually the walls and structures began to crumble but the people of Uruguay still remembered what the Fort San Miguel battles had meant for their country’s history. Uruguay looked for someone they could trust to restore and salvage this landmark of national pride and independence.
The nation chose Horacio Arredondo to head the restoration efforts. Arredondo was a well known archaeologist with experience in this type of historically significant challenge. He had already been in charge of the work to restore another old fortress, Santa Teresa.
Today tourists who come to explore Fort San Miguel can see a number of the specific features that were present when this structure was first erected during the early 18th century. There is a large moat that still surrounds the entire complex and the bridge that allowed soldiers to cross the moat and enter the fort has survived through the centuries.
Nearby you can see where the cemetery, or caposanto, is located and there is still an ossuary present that dates to the 1700s. There is also a small building, which was once a store that has been restored. A modest museum has been created on the grounds of this fortress and it holds relics that help people understand the important part that Fort San Miguel played in the founding of an independent Uruguay nation.
Fort San Miguel was rescued from the oblivion that befalls many other historical landmarks. Although there are parts of the actual construction that could not be saved it is obvious that archaeologists, historians and the local populace worked hard to ensure that as much of the fortress as possible would be salvaged and restored.
More importantly the site has been protected so that future generations will have a chance to connect with this early time in the country’s development. Fort San Miguel withstood the passing of centuries with the same stoic spirit that it withstood the changing hands of ownership and furious battles that defined much of the structure’s early life.
There is a wonderful hotel that now stands near the site where Fort San Miguel was originally built. The spirit of Fort San Miguel is able to live on and will continue to inspire people of Uruguay by reminding them of the courage and bravery of those who made it possible for a free Uruguay to exist.
San Miguel National Park now surrounds the lands on which Fort San Miguel stands. The boundaries of the park encompass marshes and forests and the government protected grounds extend from near Chuy Uruguay all the way to the border of Brazil.
Some of the most diverse, natural ecosystems are present on the grounds of the park.
As you Discover the Fort San Miguel you can take a walk along one of the many paths and catch a glimpse of the native wildlife. Monkeys, unusual species of birds, capybaras and guazubira all exist in the forests and marshland.
Many people come to spend the day at Fort San Miguel and San Miguel National Park. Picnics and tour are frequent occurrences. Tourists can include this stop as one of their day trips but a number of individuals choose to stay overnight at the lodging accommodations that have been built on the grounds.