The construction of Mount Fortress was initiated by the Jesuits in 1617 and completed in 1626.
Mount Fortress was once a principal military facility and was one of the city's strongest defence points.
In the centre of the top platform, there was a 3-storey tower fitted with cannons on each floor.
There were four rows of houses that served as military barracks close by.
The Fortress was also equipped with wells and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies to survive a siege lasting up to two years.
The site also served as the residence of the first Portuguese governor, D. Francisco de Mascarenhas.
The fortress used to be a restricted military facility until around 1965 when the barracks were converted into a weather observatory. In 1996, the meteorological services moved their operations to Taipa Island.
The fort ramparts and walls were restored in 1992, 1993 and 1996.
The restoration involved repairs and reinforcements necessary to maintain the structural stability of Mount Fortress maintaining the authenticity of the site. After completion of the Macao Museum at the site in 1998, Mount Fortress has developed into one of the most visited monuments in the city.
Mount Fortress built in 1626 stands on top of Mount Hill, which rises 52 metres above sea level. The fortress covers an area of 10,000 square metres, in the shape of a trapezoid. The four corners of the fortress protrude to form bulwarks. The north-eastern, south-eastern and south-western walls are built on 3.7 metre wide granite bases. The walls, 9 metres high narrowing upwards to 2.7 metres wide at the top, are made of solid rammed earth, further strengthened by a thick stucco of ground oyster shells. The parapet sections were crenulated for the installation of 32 cannons and the two corners of the south-east wall have watchtowers.
The north-western and south-western granite walls facing the Chinese mainland do not have any battlements, indicating that the fortress was built only for defence against attacks from the sea. This military architectural concept represents a clear sign of friendship towards the Chinese authorities of the period.
The main entrance of the fortress is located on the southeast wall with some simple rooms behind the gate for military purposes. Access to the fortress is made through a short winding path leading to a spacious platform at the top.
In the past, both the platform and the space below were equipped with military facilities such as an ammunitions depot (now an exhibition area) and a small reservoir (now part of the Macao Museum).
The Macao Museum is housed in a low-slung building in the grounds of Mount Fortress in harmony with its surroundings.
The top platform of Mount Fortress has a landscaped garden offering a commanding view of the cityscape.
www.macautourism.gov.mo & www.macauheritage.net