Monte Fortress Castle, known as St. Paul Monte Fortress, Central Monte Fortress, or Great Sanba Monte Fortress, was constructed from 1617 to 1626. It was completed during the ruling years of Emperor Xizong in the Ming Dynasty. Monte Fortress played a very important role in defending Macao against the invasion of Holland.
Monte Fortress is square shaped. Each side is about 100 meters long. The gate of the Monte Fortress faces southeast. The four corners of the fortress project out as bastions; its outside wall was built with rammed earth and thus very stable. The walls had many cutouts which served as supports for the 32 cannons used to defend against foreign attacks. Monte Fortress was a defense center in Macao at that time.
The walls of the Monte Fortress are around nine meters high. The Fortress faces the NverWall in China which is only two meters high and has no supporting cannon facility.
Monte Fortress was equipped with a reservoir, warehouse and barracks. There was sufficient storage space for two years worth of ammunition and supplies.
Monte Fortress was the residence of the Chief of Staff on City Defense and Superintendent of Macao before 1740. Later it became a forbidden military zone. It was not until 1965 that barracks on Monte Fortress were replaced by a weather station. It was opened to the public the following year. The weather station building was removed by the then Macao Government between 1996 and 1998 and replaced with today's Macao Museum.