Views of Macau’s historic center and modern skyline await from a rooftop park while museum exhibits retell the city’s history at this 17th-century fortress.
Visit Fortaleza do Monte (Monte Forte), the historical heart of Macau’s military activities. Spot cannons as you wander around the fortress’s courtyards and garden. Pause to admire a dramatic skyline, which blends colonial and traditional Chinese architecture with glitzy skyscrapers and neon-lit casinos. Discover the history and development of Macau at a museum set inside the main building of Monte Fort.
Jesuits established the fortress atop Mount Hill in 1617 to protect the city from pirate raids. It covers about 2.4 acres (0.9 hectares) and once featured military barracks, storehouses and sufficient artillery to withstand a 2-year-long siege. The impenetrable defensive walls are 12-feet (3.7-meter) wide at the base and rise to a height of 29.5 feet (9 meters). The landmark later served as the residence of the Governor of Macau and a weather observatory, before being demilitarized in 1976.
Some 32 cannons look out through crenelations on three sides of the defensive walls. None of them face mainland China, which suggests that the stronghold was established as a defense against raids from the sea. The cannons were only fired once, when a Dutch fleet launched an attack in 1622. Look for a bronze statue of Father Matteo Ricci, who introduced evangelism to China in the late 1500s.
Views from the garden and courtyards are magnificent. See major landmarks of the Historic Center of Macau, including the ornate facade and ruins of the Church of St. Paul’s and St. Paul’s College. To the south, glass-fronted skyscrapers, the elaborate tower of the Grand Lisboa hotel and Macau Tower dominate the skyline.
Glimpse into Macau’s fascinating past via interactive exhibits at the Macau Museum. The museum starts with an introduction to the city’s Chinese-Portuguese traditions, religious beliefs and trade and commerce. Browse an overview of Macanese art and festivals. Find examples of daily life in Macau portrayed through art and literature.
Fortaleza do Monte is open daily and admission is free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and there’s an admission fee. Get here by walking for 10 minutes from Largo do Senado square.