Macau’s Fortaleza do Monte (Mount Fortress)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Learn about the history of Fortaleza do Monte, the oldest fort in Macau.

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Fortaleza do Monte or Mount Fortress, the oldest fort in Macau, is a military defense complex, built by the Jesuits in the early decades of the 1600s. It is part of the Historic Center of Macau and is located near the Ruins of St. Paul’s. 

Arch at Fortaleza do Monte

Macau’s Fortaleza do Monte (Mount Fortress)

    About Fortaleza do Monte


    Mount Fortress was constructed principally to defend the tiny Portuguese colony against invaders from the sea, the most famous of which was the Dutch invaders who were also unsuccessful in their attempt to conquer Macau.

    Wall at Fortaleza do Monte

    Perched atop Mount Hill, which 52 meters above sea level, one will have a good 360-degree of Macau from Mount Fortress. The view of the cityscape is spectacular. If you can wait until dark at Mount Fortress, do so because the city lights are amazing.

    Things to see in Fortaleza do Monte


    It's easy to explore Fortaleza do Monte or Mount Fortress because it is small. You just need half a day to go around the fortress grounds. Be sure to wear light and comfortable clothes though especially during the dry season because it can get hot.

    Cannonballs at Fortaleza do Monte

    Here are some of the things that you can see at Mount Fortress:

    1. Steel canons


    The 8,000 square meter fortress is fortified with steel cannons and also features military barracks, wells, and an arsenal. 

    Steel canons at Fortaleza do Monte

    Visitors may also enjoy a stroll at a public park lined with trees, and a visit to the observatory and the Macau Museum.

    2. Macau Museum


    The Macau Museum was built in 1998 within the confines of Fortaleza do Monte. It consists of two underground levels and a third one above the fortress’s top platform. 

    Macau Museum at Fortaleza do Monte

    The Macau Museum is the biggest museum in Macau. What is unique about this museum is that it showcases the diverse cultures that shaped the history, customs, and traditions of Macau.

    3. Old telescope


    Telescope at Fortaleza do Monte

    There is an old telescope at Fortaleza do Monte that is still usable, at least during the time when we went here. You can use it if you want a larger view of the city or a building in Macau.

    4. Old bell


    Alarm bell at Fortaleza do Monte

    There is an old bell at Mount Fortress that you might also want to check. It's the original alarm bell of the fortress, possibly used to warn people of incoming invaders. 

    5. The garden


    There is a garden in Fortaleza do Monte filled with trees and plants. You can take a walk around it or sit on a bench to rest your feet for a short time. 

    Epilogue


    For Filipinos who have been to Intramuros, Fort Santiago, or any other old Spanish forts around the Philippines, the feeling of walking around Mount Fortress is similar – you get the same sense of deep history, and heritage as you walk along with the jagged cobblestone floorings.

    Walking around Fortaleza do Monte


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