A' Famosa, Melaka
Porta de Santiago Fortress was built by the Portuguese, under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque, in 1511. They had attacked Melaka and overthrown the sultan who fled to Johor. They built the fortress as a defensive structure.
At its height the fortress was made up of several long ramparts and four major towers. Most of the village of Melaka was located inside the fortress walls. As the population grew extensions had to be added to the fortress in around 1586.
In 1641 the Dutch drove the Portuguese out of Melaka.The Dutch renovated the fortress gate in 1670, adding the logo ANNO 1670 and a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company to the gate's archway.
In 1806 the fortress was given by the Dutch to the British when Holland was invaded by France. The British were fearful that the Dutch may try to reclaim Melaka and began destroying the fortress. The fortress would have been totally destroyed but for the intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, who visited Melaka in 1810. He persuaded the British to stop the destruction and preserve the remains of the fort. He was able to save this beautiful gateway.
When we visited there was a busker inside playing guitar and a cute little boy with a toy guitar playing next to him. There were several cannons arranged around the gate. Lots of people were having their photos taken with the remains including two very cute little girls all done up in their finest dresses. There were flower festooned trishaws all around.
A fortress built by a Portuguese Admiral in 1511, this was badly damaged by a Dutch invasion in 1641. The remains of the A’Famosa, courtesy of Sir Stamford Raffles’s intervention, reminds me of Intramuros, a fortress in the Philippines which the Philippines has during the Spanish conquest.
The only remnant left of the old Portuguese fort at this site, A'Famosa, is this gate on the south side of Bukit St. Paul. (St Paul's Hill)
Just follow the steps down the south side of the hill from St. Paul's church to reach the gate.
Just like the "Red Square" reminds you of the Dutch colonial time, the Porta de Santiago is one of the main remains of the Portuguese colonial period over Malacca.
This was the main gate to the walled town. This ancient Portuguese town was built on the Hill of Saint Paul, protected by a powerful fort known as "A Famosa". The Saint James's Gate is the only remain of this fort.
This prominet landmark synonymous with Melaka, was a fortress built bt the Portuguese admiral. Alfonso d' Albuquerque in 1511. It was badly damaged during the Dutch invasion in 1941. Timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles, a British offical, in 1808 saved what remains of the A'Famosa today.
This fort named, Kota A Famosa in Malay, translates simply as "The Famous" in Portuguese. Originally named Porta de Santiago, only a small gate house remains visible. It has a long and interesting story to tell. In 1511 Afonso de Albuquerque landed here with a Portuguese fleet and defeated the Sultan of Malacca. He chose the site of this fortress atop a natural hill near the water with excellent viewpoints of both land and sea. Today A’ Famosa is a simply a reconstruction of a watchtower on top of the unearthed remains of a once substantial fortification. In its heyday it consisted of 4 long ramparts (walls) and 4 major towers. Inside the walls were a four-story keep, an ammunition store, 5 churches and residential houses for the colonists. Malacca's population outgrew the original walls and they were extended in 1586.
The Dutch invaded and took all of Melaka in 1641. They restored the gate present today in 1670, which is why "ANNO 1670" is inscribed on the arch. Above this is the carved insignia of the Dutch East India Company. The letters 'VOC' is the abbreviation of Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie.
In 1824 the Dutch handed it over to a British garrison to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon's forces. The new owners decided to begin demolition of the fort to save costs in 1806. In 1810 the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, visited Malacca and requested that the gate be spared from destruction in the interests of history.
Virtually the entire fortifications were either demolished and/or buried for over 150 years. In June 2003 the fortress began to be rediscovered. During construction of a new structure, workers discovered a watchtower named Santiago Bastion. In November 2006 work started on a planned revolving 100 meter tower. During the excavation they discovered the Middelsburgh Bastion, probably built by the Dutch, and the tower was constructed on a different site in Melaka.
A’Famosa is one of the oldest surviving European architectural relics in Asia. It is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church, which itself was built atop the original Sultan of Melaka’s fortress.
Inside the Melaka Sultanate Palace is the Muzium Budaya. The Palace is actually a replica of the original palace. The building is completely made of wood and not a single nail is used! The museum exhibits things that focus entirely on the traditional Melakan culure. The building also houses the Terngganu Stone which is the first evidence of Islam on Peninsular Malaysia.
The hallmark of Melaka and perhaps the most photographed landmark next to the Stadthuys. Built by the Portugese in 1511 as a fortress it sustained severe structural damage during the Dutch invasion. The Dutch had set to destroy it but timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808 saved what remains of A' Famosa today.
This building suffered the same fate as St. Paul's Church. The remains are the front facade of the fortress and two cannons. Nothing much left to see on this historical structure. It's merely a landmark of the glorious past.
A Famosa, or "The Famous" in Portuguese, is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. Once part of a mighty fortress, this tiny gate (called the Porta de Santiago) is all that is left of a once-mighty fortress. In 1511 a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Alfonso de Albequerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the native Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albequerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. After remvoing the Portuguese, the Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo "ANNO 1670" inscribed on the gate's arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company. The fortress changed hands again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon's expansionist France. The English were wary of maintaining the fortification and ordered its destruction in 1806. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stanford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who happened to visit Melaka in 1810. Because of his passion for history this small gate was spared destruction.
The history of the A' Famosa (just to the right of the marker) dates back to 1511 when Alfonso de Albuquerque and the Portuguese fleet under his command arrived at Malacca. He soon built a fortress to defend what he had taken from the locals. What we can now see is only one of altogether four towers connected with a high wall. Each of the towers had a special purpose: one for the captain's residence, one for the officers, one to store the ammunition and the last one a keep for the guards.
In the 17th century the fortress was handed over to the Dutch as they came into power in the region, and later it was also handed over to the British. They decided to destroy the fortress and they almost did, but Sir Stamford Raffles managed to save a little part of it.
A' Famosa is also known as Porta de Santiago.
Some of the cannon which can be seen, the greenish ones, are original whereas the others are replicas.
"You can’t say you have been to Malacca if you haven't visited the A' Famosa."
When the Portuguese arrived at the shores of Melaka, the first thing they did was build a fort overlooking the river, which they named A Famosa. The A Famosa is one of the oldest examples of European Architecture present in Southeast Asia.
Throughout the Portuguese rule, the fort was critical to their foothold of the island because the town was constantly under threats from other foreign powers, namely the British and Dutch. The fort was also instrumental in maintaining the Portuguese stronghold across the Far East. It consisted of housing and food stores, a castle, a meeting room for the Portuguese Council and five churches.
In the late 17th century, Malacca came under attack by the Dutch and was significantly damaged, leaving only the entrance façade and the structure of a church at the top of the hill. In the early 19th century, the fortress was taken over by the British who decided to destroy it. This destruction came about in the year 1806; all was demolished expect for a small part, what is found today, the last bit of the once active and important fortress.
Take a stroll up St. Paul’s Hill (the steps are not as intimidating as they look and there is plenty of room to stop and rest) and walk around what is left of the great fort. It is better if you head up after 3 pm when the sun is less hot and the sea breeze begins.
St. Paul's Hill is the highest elevation in Melaka's city centre and the location of the former Portuguese fort called "A Famosa" (The Famous). The fort was part of a system of Portuguese trading points established in the 15th and 16th century. The Dutch continued to use it until the Napoleonic wars when they handed over the fort to the British Empire. To prevent the French from conquering the fort, the British ordered it to be destroyed, but due to intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, a small gatehouse was preserved. This gatehouse is known as Porta de Santiago and has many inscriptions from the Portuguese and Dutch era. Ruins of other structures were found during excavations on the site in the early 2000s. St. Paul's church is described in a separate tip.
Porta de Santiago (A Famosa) – These ruins were built by the Portugues in 1511 and are probably the 2nd most photographed attraction in Malacca. Originally built as a fortress it underwent major structural damage during the Dutch invasion. The Dutch set out to tear down the fort but was stopped by Sir Stamford Raffles who’s intervention in 1808 saved what remains of the fortress today.
There are many historic places in Malacca. To name a few: A Famosa, the hallmark of Malacca. The Portuguese built it as a fortress in the year 1511, but it was damaged during the Dutch invasion. St. Paul's Church, or 'Our Lady Of The Hill', is a chapel built by the Portuguese. Christ Church was built by the Dutch in 1753. The Stadhuys, the official residence of Dutch Governors and their officers, was built in 1650. It is now a museum. Sam Po Kong Temple: The great Chinese admiral Cheng Ho was on his way from China to Malacca when his ship was hit by a storm. This temple was named after a fish that miraculously saved the admiral's ship from sinking. The fish mysteriously placed itself against a damaged hull! The Maritime Museum is worth a visit. So are the Dutch and Chinese cemeteries, the Portuguese Square, Hang Li Poh's Well, Hang Jebat's Mausoleum etc.
The hallmark of Melaka and perhaps the most photographed subject next to the Stadthuys. Built by the Portuguese in 1511 as a fortress it sustained severe structural damage during the Dutch Invasion. The British had set to destroy it but timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808 saved what remains of A' Famosa today.