Classified Immovable Properties

    MM013-St. Tiago da Barra Fortress

    Location: Macao

    Category: Monuments

    Introduction: Avenida da República

    The Fortress of São Tiago da Barra was originally equipped with 16 cannons when it was constructed in 1629, based on the former site of a simpler defensive fortification previously built by the Portuguese in 1622. It has a strategic importance at the time as the commander of this fortress was directly and independently appointed by the King of Portugal and was not subject to call by the Governor of Macao. This is also the only fortress built on the order of the King of Portugal. Apart from the military installations, a catholic chapel was built within the fortress area in 1740 to worship St. James, the patron saint of the military, who can be found wearing Portuguese military uniform and holding a sword and a shield.

    According to historical records the fortress wall measures 110 meters long and 40 meters wide, forming a rectangular platform rising 3 meters above sea level. Thus originally, a polygonal pillbox once existed within the fortress area for military purposes. This was one of the most important fortresses in Macao for its strategic value and location, and ensured effective control on all maritime activities as it guarded the water entrance towards the Inner Harbour.

    The fortress was converted into a 5-star hotel (Pousada de São Tiago) in 1981 and the condition of the catholic chapel was well preserved. The restoration and renovation of this hotel project received the Excellence Award in the Heritage Buildings Re-use Competition held by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

    Architectural characteristics:

    According to records, São Tiago da Barra Fortress covered a site 110 metres long and 40 metres wide, on a platform 3 metres above sea level. In the past there was a cistern at the centre of the fortress and beside it lodging for 70 soldiers. Below the platform was a warehouse for armaments and provisions.

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