Near the city's southwest end, Avenida Ruíz Cortínez winds its way to this hilltop fort with a breathtaking view of the Bay of Campeche. Built between 1779 and 1801 and dedicated to the archangel Michael, the fort was positioned to blast enemy ships with its long-range cannons. As soon as it was completed, pirates stopped attacking the city. In fact, the cannons were fired only once, in 1842, when General Santa Anna used Fuerte de San Miguel to put down a revolt by Yucatecan
separatists seeking independence from Mexico.
The fort houses the 10-room Museo de la Arqueología Maya. Exhibits include the skeletons of long-ago Maya royals, complete with jewelry and pottery, which are arranged just as they were found in Calakmul tombs. Other archaeological treasures are funeral vessels, wonderfully expressive figurines and whistles from Isla de Jaina, stelae and stucco masks from the Mayan ruins, and an excellent pottery collection. Most information is in Spanish only, but many of the pieces speak for themselves. The gift shop sells replicas of artifacts.