The Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) is one of the most popular sites that you can find when visiting Malacca. It is a major historical landmark and is probably the most photographed structure in Malacca. The A Famosa is located just next to the Stadthuys building. The fort of Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in the whole of Asia. This tiny gate which we call A Famosa or Porta de Santiago is the last remains of what used to be a mighty fortress.
Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) which translates to ‘The Famous’ in Portuguese is one of the few oldest surviving remnants of European architecture in the whole of Asia. It was built in 1511 under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque. The fortress was built to consolidate their gains in Malacca after they defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate. At that time, the Portuguese believed that Malacca would someday become a vital port which links Portugal to the spice trade from China. The Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) that we see today was once made up of long ramparts and four major towers. One of the towers was a four-storey keep while the other housed the residence of the captain, officers’ quarters and an ammunition storage room. The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch successfully drove the Portuguese out of Malacca. After the Dutch got their hands on the A Famosa, they placed their company logo, the ‘VOC’ coat of arms about the gates of Porta De Santiago (A Famosa). ‘VOC’ is the abbreviation of Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie.
Even today,if you look at the Porta de Santiago, you can still see the VOC coat of arms on the shield carried by the soldier on the right side of the logo. The Dutch then handed the fort over to the British in the early 19th century. The English, being wary of maintaining the fort gave orders to the British Governor of Pahang to demolish it. The fort was saved by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1810 as he stopped the demolishing and saved what we see today. There are many other attractions around the Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) such as the Islamic Museum of Malacca, the Architecture Museum of Malacca, the Malacca Sultanate Palace and the St Paul’s Church. With so many places to visit, do consider staying over at any hotels in Malacca. There are many hotels to choose from so do not worry about the accommodation here.