Fortress of São Miguel de Luanda

Fortaleza de São Miguel is a war museum located in Luanda. Find out why this museum is a must-visit. The São Miguel Fortress was transformed from a military base to a national historical monument.


Built in the 16th century, more specifically in the year 1575 by determination of the first Governor, Paulo Dias de Novais, the Fortaleza de São Miguel, is the first defensive structure built in Luanda is on Angola.

Around 1641, the fortress came under Dutch rule, having been restored to the Portuguese crown again in 1648.

During the period of Dutch occupation it was called Fort Aardenburgh.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, it underwent several renovations and expansions, which somehow contributed to its being classified as a national monument in 1938.

The following year, and with further improvements, the Museum of Angola was installed in the Fortaleza de São Miguel. However, in 1961, it resumed military functions, having been the headquarters of the Portuguese Military Forces Command.

Shortly after independence, the fortress housed the Angolan Armed Forces Museum.

Considered as one of the main assets of the capital and the country, in 1995 it underwent conservation interventions on the outside of the building, being currently owned by the State, being assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Culture.

Main events

Among the main events verified over time, the following stand out:

On November 10, 1975, the last ceremony for the raising of the Portuguese Flag took place;

Three years later, on July 31, 1978, the Central Museum of the Armed Forces was opened. Included on UNESCO's Indicative List of World Heritage in 1996.

The fortress again has a (partial) military use, being integrated into the defense system in the sensitive areas of the Angolan capital from 2001 to 2005.

And last but not least, the National Museum of Military History was inaugurated on April 4, 2013.

This important information system, with several artefacts, preserves and reports the country's military history in an absolutely incredible way, providing a true journey into the past.

Main attractions

Next to the main face of the Fortress of São Miguel de Luanda, a large square opens up, where various means used in the Colonial War (1961-1974) are exposed.

In addition to artillery pieces and military vehicles of various origins used in the civil war by the forces of the various political parties and the Republic of South Africa.

The fortress of São Miguel de Luanda is worth visiting, not only for its interior, history and various artefacts, but also for the incredible panoramic view it provides over the Bay of Luanda.

In addition to the incredible restaurants in the vicinity facing the Bay, various events are held at the site periodically to complement the attraction, in what is undoubtedly an authentic combination of leisure and knowledge, which symbolizes true tourism.

With periodic and permanent exhibitions of very well preserved objects and monuments, both in the courtyard and in the various exhibition halls, and the impeccable narration of history carried out by properly trained information professionals.

A visit to the Fortress of São Miguel de Luanda is literally an incredible leisure experience, and an authentic journey into the past.

Thousands of people visit the fortress each year in search of leisure and information, with the recurrent presence of many national and foreign students, as well as the recurrent presence of armed forces from various countries around the world.

It is truly possible to feel the more than 500 years of Portuguese presence in Angola as we walk along its walls, its courtyards and its corridors.

The various attractions that the place offers, makes it one of the mandatory stops in the capital city, especially for those who love to combine leisure with knowledge and unique experiences. So if you are in the vicinity, be sure to visit the Fortress of São Miguel de Luanda.


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