Built in conjunction with the Jesuits around the same time as the Church of St. Paul from 1617 to 1626, this was once the principal militaristic defense of the city against pirates. This fortress was equipped with cannons, military barracks, wells, and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies meant to endure siege lasting up to two years. The fortress covers an area of 10,000 square meters and is in the shape of a trapezoid. Bulwarks are formed by the four corners protruding from this now defunct fortress.
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).
Bus routes nearby: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
History of Mount Fortress
Monte Fort (it’s Portuguese name) is the oldest of all the forts in Macau, lying just east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s. It was constructed in 1616, originally belonging to St. Paul’s Church and was the main defense of the Church against pirates at the time. It later became an exclusively military fort.
The fort itself is quadrilateral with bastions at each corner and about 100 meters in circumference. The barracks, cisterns and storehouses were the main structures within the fort. An ancient tower situated here was one of the sites of the Jesuits. The fort was strongly fortified with cannons on all four sides, although these cannons have lost all their military function, they remain in place as a visual reminder of their once threatening presence.
The same fire that destroyed the Jesuit College and St. Paul’s Church also destroyed some of the fort buildings.
In 1965 a single story barracks in a Southern European style was transformed into the Macau Meteorological Bureau’s headquarters. To it’s right hangs the ancient bell made by an expert in cannon casting. In 1998, the Macau Museum was established here, which detailed the development, history, and culture of Macau.
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