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Macau guide,Fortresses

Macau Fortresses

Macau, a city that has also experienced war, the fort is a witness to the war. In a peaceful age, we should remember that history and move on.

Macau is virtually surrounded by the sea, and centuries ago built hill-top fortresses to repel foreign and domestic invaders. Today, these sturdy stone guardians stand in silent witness to a turbulent history as well as affording sweeping views of the city below.

1.Mong-Há Fort

Macau Fortresses
Mong-Há Fort

Mong Há Fort, situated on Mong Há Hill at the northern end of Macao, is a newer fortress, built in anticipation of a Chinese invasion following the Anglo-Chinese War in 1841. It was completed in 1866 and was in active service until the 1960′ s, when it was abandoned. Today the area has been turned into a park with flowerbeds, grassy slopes and walkways surrounding the old fortress walls. It provides a quiet refuge for people living in the nearby neighborhoods, and good views of the north end of the city.

Address :Avenida do Coronel Mesquita, Macau

2.St. Francisco Barracks

Macau Fortresses
St. Francisco Barracks

Built 1629 on the site of a battery which sank one of the warships’ The Golias’ of the Dutch invaders, the original fortress of S. Francisco stood at the end of old Praia Grande, facing the Taipa channel. Its armaments included a culverin, which could fire 35-pound iron shots a distance of one and a half miles (the width of the channel). Little more is known of the original fort or the convent of S. Francisco, which was attached to it.

Both fort and convent were demolished to make way for new barracks in 1864, to house the Battalion of the First Line, brought in as defence against a Chinese attack which never came. The barracks survive today as headquarters for the Security Forces and sections of the Police Force. They present an attractive, colonial facade of pink-washed stone with white trim. Inside are offices and meeting rooms around a flag-stoned courtyard, in the spacious lobby are display cases filled with old prints and pictures of the previous fort and convent, a collection of old weapons and other.

Address: Rua de Santa Clara

3.Mount Fortress

Macau Fortresses
Mount Fortress

Built in conjunction with the Jesuits from 1617 to 1626, this was the city’s principal military defence structure. The fortress was equipped with cannons, military barracks, wells and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies to endure a siege lasting up to two years. The fortress covers an area of 10,000 square metres, in the shape of a trapezoid. The four corners of the fortress protrude to form bulwarks.

Opening Hours:
Fortress and garden: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.;
Macao Museum: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., last admission until 5:30 p.m. (Closed on Mondays, open on public holidays)

4.Guia Fortress (including Guia Chapel and Lighthouse)

Macau Fortresses
Guia Fortress

The fortress was built between 1622 and 1638. Inside the fortress stands Guia Chapel, originally established by Clarist nuns, who resided at the site before establishing the Convent of St. Clare. The chapel’s elaborate frescoes depict representations of both western and Chinese themes, displaying motifs of religious and mythological inspiration that are a perfect example of Macao’s multicultural dimension. Guia Lighthouse, dating from 1865, which also stands within the perimeter, is the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Guia Fortress, along with the chapel and lighthouse are symbols of Macao’s maritime, military and missionary past.

Opening Hours:
Fortress: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Chapel: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (no photographs allowed)
Lighthouse: not open to the public

The significance of these four forts today is more a witness of history. But we can stand in the fortress ruins and look at the scenery, feel the changes of the mulberry fields in Macau, and appreciate the prosperity of the modern city.

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