Fortaleza do Monte
|Fortaleza do Monte|
|Literal meaning||Big Fortress|
|Portuguese||Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora do Monte de São Paulo|
Fortaleza do Monte (Portuguese for Mount Fortress, also Monte Forte, officially Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora do Monte de São Paulo, in English: Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul; Chinese: 大炮台)
Built by the Jesuits, from 1617 to 1626, this was the Portuguese colony of Macau's (in the People's Republic of China) principal military defence structure and was crucial in successfully holding off the attempted Dutch invasion of Macau in 1622.
It was built on top of Mount Hill, strategically located in the centre of the Macau Peninsula, watching over the city in all directions.
The fortress is in the shape of an irregular trapezoid that covers an area of approximately 8000 square metres. In the past, it was equipped with cannons, military barracks, wells and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies to endure a siege lasting two years.
The walls are 3.7 metres wide at the base, 9 metres high narrowing upwards to 2.7 metres wide at the top. The parapets were crenulated for the installation of 32 cannons and the two corners of the southeast wall have watchtowers. There are no weapons facing mainland China, indicating that the fortress was only built for defence against attacks from the sea. In 1965 a weather observatory was installed at the site and the fortress was demilitarized in 1976. In 1998 the Museum of Macau was installed at the site.
The fortress has served various functions:
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