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. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Centre of Macau.
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.
Highlights and Features
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.