Fort Pilar is an outdoor Roman Catholic Marian shrine and a museum named after and dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. It is the major landmark of Zamboanga City as a center of major religious pilgrimage and a symbol of the city's cultural heritage.
Fort Pilar was recognized a National Cultural Treasure on August 1, 1973. A 17th-century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City, it was originally named as Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza or Royal Fort of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza.
Fort Pilar is a unique structure in any aspects, being an open- air shrine without doors, right in the middle if the City. It is like a permanent invitation for all the Zamboangueños to come at any time of the day or night. There is probably not a single day or night Fort Pilar was found deserted of the locals, pilgrims and tourists.
The Marian Image honored at the Fort is a small replica of the original Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Saragossa, Spain. The Blessed Virgin is believed to have been watching the city and guarding Zamboanga against foreign invasions and natural calamities like quakes and tsunamis.