Adventures in East Asia

A Famosa Ruins in Malacca

The A Famosa or "The Famous" in Portuguese, was a fortress located in Malacca. It's among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia and the Porta de Santiago, a small gatehouse, is the only remaining part of the fortress still standing.


The gatehouse was part of our little walking tour of Malacca and actually has more relevance and history that is at first apparent. Well, I guess that's the case with alot of ruins.

We passed the gatehouse by coming down from the hill that features the St Pauls Church ruins. In fact, the original fortress itself was built on this natural hill.


Originally built by the Portuguese after they arrived and defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate, the Dutch then arrived, driving out the Portuguese and proceeded to rebrand the place by adding a bas-relief logo on the gate arch.

Several centuries later, the Dutch then handed the fortress over to the British, who were reluctant to spare enough troops to defend it effectively or to leave the stronghold standing.

They subsequently proceeded to demolish the A Famosa, until the timely intervention of a Sir Stamford Raffles (the founder of Singapore, who we'd already come across during our visit to the little country), who was visiting Malacca in 1810, and who was able to save the last remaining gate.

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers, so we can only imagine how formidable it once was. Malacca has an interesting history and this blog isn't meant to recount it, but with the A Famosa, you can at least explore further on Wikipedia.


Being the tourist attraction that the A Famosa was, it wasn't surprising to find a few stalls selling knick knacks inside the cool shade of the stone construction. There was also a guy outside with an iguana on his shoulder who was renting the lizard for photos (about RM5).

We also found a stray kitten wandering delicately around the ruin and I was surprised that it hadn't been stepped on already.


This entry posted in : History. Malaysia.

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