One of the most valuable ruins left by the Portuguese in Malacca is A ‘Famosa, which means famous in the Portuguese language. If you are ever in Malacca, you should definitely visit it. Known also as Porta de Santiago, the structure is one of the four main gates of the famous Portuguese fortress.
Built by Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1512, A ‘Famosa was intended to help secure the place from an attack by Sultan Mahmud, as well as the continuous attack from the Johor and Acheh empires. The fortress is 3 meters thick and its 40-meter watchtower has played a pivotal role in the protection of the Portuguese from their enemies. Out of all the structure that the Portuguese have built, it is the most famous and most popular.
In 1641, the Dutch landed in Malacca and took over the state from the Portuguese. The fortress fell into their hands and it was further renovated and reinforced because its new owners decided to use it.
The British finally took over Malacca from the Dutch in and Captain William Farquhar ordered the destruction of the fortress in 1795. Captain William had the fortress destroyed because the British has a plan to invade Malacca and they do not want the Dutch to put up resistance with the help of the fortress.
The captain started with manual destruction and upon knowing that it would not work, he decided to blast the fortress with gun powder. Some people tried to stop the devastation, however, 3 out of the 4 main portals were still destroyed and only one portal still stands today, which tourists pose with for their obligatory photos.
A ‘Famosa can be easily located as it is in the same vicinity as St. Paul’s Hill and Istana. If you are headed to Malacca, you should drop by, not just for obligatory photos but for a little lesson in history too.