Mount Fortress Garden
Initially built by the Jesuits in 1617 and completed in 1626, the Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul is widely known by Macao residents as Mount Fortress. The Fortress is located atop Monte Forte, 52 metres above sea level in the middle of the Macao Peninsula, adjacent to the ruins of St. Paul’s College on the west side. The top platform of the Fortress features Mount Fortress Garden and is one of the major scenic spots in Macao, overlooking the Macao Peninsula. Occupying some 8,000 square metres, the Fortress is established in the shape of a trapezoid with an average side length of around 100 metres, four corners protruding to form a bastion. The northeast, southwest and southeast walls are built on 3.7-metre-wide granite bases with solid rammed earth and oyster shell powder as plaster. The walls, about nine metres high, narrow upwards to 2.7 metres wide at the top. The parapets are about two metres high, in the shape of a battlement for the installation of up to 32 cannons. There are blockhouses at the two corners of the southeast wall. The northwest wall facing the Chinese mainland is largely composed of granite, while the parapet is low without muzzles, which mainly shows its defence against attack from the sea and its friendliness to the Chinese authorities of the period.
The main entrance to the Fortress is situated on the southeast wall, and there are bungalows on both sides behind the gate, which were used as military premises and are now tourist facilities. The Fortress can be accessed via a short winding path leading to a spacious platform at the top. Historically, both the platform and the space below were equipped with military installations, such as the ammunition depot in the western bastion (now Macao Museum Gallery) and the cistern (now Inner Harbour Exhibition Area of the Macao Museum).
Throughout its four-century history, the Fortress has been continuously built and beautified, while its inner architecture has been renovated multiple times. The early entrance to the Fortress was a powder magazine. In the middle of the top platform was a three-storey tower (now no longer in existence), each installed with cannons. Beside it were four rows of houses, barracks for the Governor of Macao, officials and soldiers, with steps on both sides of the dormitory connected to the entrance to the lower floors. The Fortress was also equipped with a cistern and an arsenal, sufficient to survive a two-year siege. The Fortress was Macao’s principal military defence structure. Together with other fortresses, it formed a wide cannon defence network covering the east and west coasts. From 1623 to 1740, it was the residence of the commander of urban defence and the head of military staff (Governor of Macao).
The Fortress remained a military restricted area until the original barracks were converted into a weather observatory in 1965, and it opened as an attraction after the observatory was relocated here in 1966.
The ramparts and walls of the Fortress were renovated in 1992, 1993 and 1996, and yet such renovations involved only repairs and reinforcements necessary to maintain its original look, including cleaning well-preserved walls, clearing weeds on the surface, clearing plant roots using herbicides, and mending cracks in the walls with original materials. Therefore, the structure of the Fortress is completely retained.
In September 1996, the government established the Macao Museum at the former address of the observatory, which was completed and opened in 1998. In July 2005, the Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The Fortress is an important historic monument that constitutes the Historic Centre of Macao.
Opening Hours: 7:00 to 19:00
Mount Fortress Gallery
Located in the garden of Mount Fortress, the Gallery was originally an underground cellar for ammunition storage. Constructed of granite, the structure is very solid. It now serves as a gallery for the Macao Museum and features the history of the fortresses of Macao and their cultural relics plus the legends of the Fortress and its archaeological findings.
Address: Mount Fortress Garden
Tel: 853-2835 7911
Hours of operation: 10:00 to 18:00 (Closed on Mondays)
Located at the entrance platform, the Museum Shop sells books, painting albums and souvenirs produced by the Macao Museum. Here, visitors can also purchase various historic, cultural and artistic books, stamps, fine works and souvenirs produced in Macao and other places.(Intended to lease to interested party through public tender)
The Macao Museum Café is a place to have a rest and get some fresh air. We serve delicacies for visitors in need of replenishment and rest.
Address: Entrance Platform of the Macao Museum
Tel: (853) 2892 4096
Business hours: 10 am to 6 pm closed on Mondays (open on public holidays)
South Gate Snack Bar
The South Gate Snack Bar, located at the south gate of Mount Fortress Garden, is imbued with a Southern European ambience, and offers distinctive Portuguese coffee and various drinks and pastries. It is also embraced by a secluded environment with lush, shady trees as it stands near the entrance to the Mount Fortress.