By Loveallie Lao
I often visit The Ruins whenever I’m in Macau. But it was only on the 3rd visit that I discovered adjacent to it is the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum, both located on the East side of The Ruins.
A South European style single-storey barrack was transformed into a Meteorological Bureau. A famous attraction to tourist for its historical significance as they can see the old defunct cannons lined up on the old fortress, an ancient bell and tower. Mount Fortress or Fortaleza do Monte (also know as “Monte Forte”) in Portuguese originally belonged to the St. Paul’s Church, to protect it and defend against pirates, but was later on used as military fort. The city’s primary defense before with supplies enabling them to survive a two-year siege.
Don’t forget to bring bottled water with you. The climb uphill, and the stones steps are a bit steep to reach Mount Fortress. The climb to the top was worth it, a bird’s eye view of Macau’s cityscape was magnificent. Dreading the walk back, decided to follow where the people are headed. Only to discover a quick shortcut through the museum, where you can ride down the escalator with the comfort of the air-conditioned museum. Museu de Macau started its construction in 1996, and currently it housed some sacred paintings, lithurgical objects, sculptures, and historical relics.
My first time to visit The Ruins, we only took photos of the baroque facade from the bottom steps. We’ve been walking the whole day, and seeing the uphill climb of several steps seems exhausting. 68 steps to be exact as I counted it on my second visit, where I was able to reached the top. Seeing up close the 4 colonnaded tiers structure known for it’s Western and Eastern fusion of cultures. The Ruins of St. Paul’s is a Portuguese Church built by Jesuits that began in 1602. Also known as “Mater Dei“, was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835.
The facade is rich in ornamentations, full of classic characteristics, and Chinese inscriptions. Tourists are allowed to go up the top of the facade, climbing from behind via the steel stairway. Some says it is customary to throw coins towards the top window of The Ruins, for luck. Don’t know how true it is. Still behind the historic structure of the facade is a crypt containing bones of Vietnamese and Japanese martyrs.
The fun part was sitting on the lower level steps, enjoying the street foods while taking selfies (photo taken by oneself with smartphone), and several snapshots with the full view of the facade as the background.