A Famosa

A Famosa or known as “The Famous” in Portuguese was a fortress in Melaka. It is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Southeast Asia.  What was once a formidable fortress, the only part which still remains today is the “Porta de Santiago', a small gate house.
Places in Melaka / Melaka

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A Famosa or known as “The Famous” in Portuguese was a fortress in Melaka. It is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Southeast Asia.  What was once a formidable fortress, the only part which still remains today is the “Porta de Santiago', a small gate house.


A Famosa or known as “The Famous” in Portuguese was a fortress in Melaka. It is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Southeast Asia.  What was once a formidable fortress, the only part which still remains today is the “Porta de Santiago', a small gate house.

Alfonso de Albequerque and his Portuguese fleet arrived and successfully defeated the Melaka Sultanate army. Believing that the Melaka port would eventually become an important trading link between Portugal and China, the A'Famosa was built in 1511. The fortress was built around a hill near the sea. Presently, the location is just downhill from St. Paul’s Church.

A Famosa was taken over by the Dutch in 1641 who carried out renovation works on the fort in 1670. It was conquered by the British in early 19th century, who in 1806, ordered the fort to be destructed. Fortunately, Sir Stamford Raffles who was visiting Melaka in 1810 intervened before the complete destruction of the fort. Hence the gate house are the remnants of what we still see today.

The layout of the old fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four towers. The towers held the captain’s residence, an officer’s quarters, a keep and a storage room for ammunition.

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