13 May Macau Guia Lighthouse
Guia Fortress (Fortaleza da Guia) is an old fortress located at Guia Hill, the highest hill of Macau Peninsular. Built approximately in 1637 and 1638, it is one of extant oldest western-style fortress complex in China. It offers a panoramic view of Macau Peninsular and Historic Center of Macau. As one of eight famous attractions of Macau, it has been inscribed onto the UNESCO’s World Heritage Lists in 2005 as it forms part of Historic Center of Macau. Because it had been an important military base, an air raid shelter was constructed underground, which was transformed into an exhibition corridor in 2003.
On the fort stand the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia and a famous lighthouse.Chapel of Our Lady of Guia on the Guia Fortress was built with granite in 1626. Many precious frescos have been discovered in recent renovation. Those frescos are of high artistic value featuring cultural fusion of East and West. The 15-meter-tall Guia lighthouse by the side of Chapel of Our Lady is the first lighthouse in China coast. It was built in 1895 with white walls and red roof. On clear days, its lighting is visible within 20 km. Markings of typhoon signals given by Weather Bureau of Macau can be found hanging on the Guia Fortress.
Guia Fort and Lighthouse overlooks Macau from the summit of Guia Hill. The fort was built in 1865 and was the chief observation post during colonial times, designed to defend the city. It is well preserved and contains barracks, a water cistern, an ammunition cache, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guia as well as the commander’s house and storage area. It’s worth taking the cable car (the smallest in the world) up here because of the great views over the city and sea and also because of the enjoyable hiking along the trails that lead away from the fort into the surrounding hills.
One of the most prominent features of the Guia Fort and Lighthouse is the lighthouse itself. It was built in 1865 and is the oldest one on the Chinese coast. The lighthouse is 91 metres high and its beams can be seen from up to 20 miles away in clear weather conditions. The base of the Guia Lighthouse is seven metres in diameter and narrows upwards to five metres.
At the summit is a circular observation platform with a lantern. You’ll find a café on this hill along with a tourist information centre. The charming chapel right next to the lighthouse was built in 1526 and has a simple but alluring facade. It was used in the past as a storm warning as it would peal its bells to alert Macau citizens of impending bad weather.
Though this may not be the most well-known chapel in Macau, the building has a colourful history as it is said that the Virgin Mary rose above the place of worship and used her robes to protect the Macanese from the attacks of the Dutch in 1622. The chapel contains a beautiful picture of John the Baptist, who is regarded as the local patron saint.
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