Open All DayOpen All Day
A Famosa, literally means “the famous” in Portuguese is a prominent 16th century Portuguese monument located in Hilir town in the state of Malacca, constructed in year 1511 by Alfonso de Albuquerque. What can be seen today is the only remaining small gate called “The Porta de Santiago”, from the original grand fortress that once consisted of four main towers and a long barricade surrounded the city. Its wall was incredibly solid, approximately fifteen feet thick; this fortress was massive enough to house a storage room for the ammunition, as well as residence for the captain and the officers.
Due to the strategic location of Malacca state as a crucial linkage to the Spice Route in China, the Portuguese began their plan to conquer the state. When Malacca was dominated by the Portuguese, the fortress was built with the intension of strengthening the authority of Portuguese and defending themselves from possible invasion. It was said that it took a total of 1500 slaves used at that time to build this great fortress. The fortress underwent another expansion work in 1586 to accommodate to the increasing population of Malacca.
In the year of 1641 when the domination of Portuguese on Malacca was overthrown by the Dutch, the logo of Dutch, "VOC" (Verenigde Oostinidische Compagnie) coat of arms was placed on top of the gates of Porta de Santiago. The fortress remained in the hands of the Dutch until the 19th century when it was given to the British in order to avert the fortress being taken by Napoleon.
The British who didn’t want the fortress to fall into any foe’s hands and had then decided to demolish the whole fortress in 1806. In year 1810, upon coincidence during a trip of Sir Stamford Raffles (the founder of Singapore) in Malacca, he got himself involved to save the last gate from being destroyed.
In November 2006, another portion of the grand fortress called “Middelsburgh Bastion” was discovered by chance during the construction work of the revolving tower in Malacca. In order to preserve the historical monuments, the project for the tower was shifted to a new location.
The A Famosa fortress which had gone through under the command of three different nations, namely Portugal (1511-1641), Netherlands (1641-1795) and Britain (1795-1807) is undoubtedly a landmark enriched with historical flairs; its value of significance make it an artifact worth preserving. Currently, the Bandar hilir area has been quite developed where other than the nearby historical tourism attractions such as the St. Paul's Hill and the Stadthuys building, visitors may also conveniently find major shopping malls like Mahkota Parade Shopping Mall and Dataran Pahlawan.