Guia Fort

2009-12-01 16:12 BJT

Built 1637-38 on the highest point of Macau, by Captain of Artillery, António Ribeiro, it occupies 8,600 square feet in a rough pentagon, as dictated by the irregular terrain. The walls are of masonry and rise about 10 feet in a gentle slope, with two of the original brickwork turrest.It was designed to defend the border with China but because of its poistion overlooking the entire city, its chief value has been as an observation post. It contained barracks, a water cistern, ammunition and equipment stores, the commander's house and a hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of Guia.The fort's dominating feature is the lighthouse, built in 1865 and the oldest on the China coast. It is 52.5 feet high and has a light which can be seen for 20 miles in clear weather. Originally it was lit by paraffin, and changed to electrical power in 1909. Beside the lighthouse, there is a post where signals are hoisted to warn of an approaching typhoon. In earlier times storm warnings were announced form the bell-tower of the hermitage.There is a small chapel with a very simple altar, a few antique picutres and the remains of colourful paintings which once covered the ceilings and walls. At the entrance is a grave-stone stating in Portuguese : 'Here lies at this gate the remains of Christopher, by accident, for his body does not deserve such an honourable sepulchre'. Who he was and why he is buried here are both mysteries.One of the guardhouses is now a tourist information centre and café. It is opening daily between 9.00am to 5:30pm.A panoramic view can be seen through a coin operated telescope.

Editor: Liu Anqi | Source: