Situated on the peak of Guia Hill – the highest point of Macao Peninsular, Guia Fortress affords sweeping views of the entire Macao Peninsula. With a trapezoidal plan occupying an area of around 800 square metres, Guia Fortress rises about 6 metres high with its façade primarily constructed with granite. The parapet is not equipped with battlements. The courtyard wall where cannons were installed, is relatively low.
Guia Fortress was built in 1622 and underwent expansion works from 1637 to 1638 .It comprises a barracks, a powder magazine and a tower. Since then, the fortress was classified as a restricted military area, where outsiders were not allowed without prior authorisation and public admission was only permitted on the 5th of August (Feast of Our Lady of the Snows) and on the 9th day of the 9th month of the lunar calendar (Double Ninth Festival), until 1976 when the Portuguese army retreated from Macao. Since then, it has been kept as it was.
There are a lighthouse and a chapel within the fortress. Constructed in 1864, Guia Lighthouse became operational on the 24th of September of the following year. It was the earliest modern lighthouse in the Far East and on the Chinese seacoast. The geographic location of Macao on the world map is taken from this lighthouse. The architecture of the lighthouse is of a column structure, with its base diameter measuring 7 metres and reducing to 5 metres at the top, having a total height of 15 metres. The interior of the lighthouse boasts three levels, connected by a spiral staircase that leads to a large light on top of the building. The lighthouse was damaged by a typhoon in September 1874. Its service resumed on the 29th of June 1910, after the conclusion of the repair works.
The chapel next to the lighthouse has been known as Guia Chapel. The nave of the chapel, measuring 16 metres per 4.7 metres, is rectangular, with thick load bearing walls supporting the interior vaulting. The gable roof is covered with traditional reddish ceramic tiles and it is composed of a roof ridge and cornice measuring 7 metres and 4.8 metres, respectively. On the right hand side of the main altar is the sacristy, while a very narrow choir is located over the entrance. The design of its façade is simple. It comprises two pilasters in addition to a triangular pediment. The main entrance of the chapel likewise features a pediment. Colourful frescos were painted on the vaulting and the walls inside the chapel. Its painting techniques integrate both Chinese and Western art, emphasizing the value of the chapel.
In order to consolidate the management of the Guia Fortress, to leverage a collaborative development between World Heritage and the tourism enterprise, and to provide a welcoming environment for visitors, the Cultural Affairs Bureau has revamped the initial Guia Lighthouse Visitor Centre into an Information Centre and exhibition venue. The Guia Fortress Information Centre has been put into service in June 2015. It is a rectangular structure measuring 16.5 m by 4.4 m located on the platform below Guia Lighthouse, with an area of 72 square metres. In addition to providing visitors with information, it also features an area that introduces the paintings inside the the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia and the Guia Fortress.
Address: Guia Hill
Guia Fortress and Information Centre: 9:00am-6:00pm (No admission after 5:30pm)
Guia Chapel: 10:00am-5:00pm
Please call (853) 8399 6699 during office hours