December 15, 2004
The hill is rather elongated, so once you get to the top via the cable car you will not see anything too notable yet. One must walk south past the athletics courts, playgrounds and jogging paths to reach the historical highlights of the hill. The trees can be rather dense, although you will catch some nice glimpses of the surrounding town below while you meander along the trails.
The Guia Fort was built in 1638, although it has been open to the public only since 1976. Its lofty elevation made it a natural setting for the Guia Lighthouse, dating from 1865 and therefore the oldest such structure on the China coast. A few years after its construction, the lighthouse was severely damaged by a typhoon. With a 20-mile lighting radius, it has been functioning since its repair in 1910. The lighthouse is also a significant monument because its location is the central reference point for the city coordinates of Macau.
Right next to the lighthouse is the little Chapel of Our Lady of Guia, built in 1622. Both the chapel and the lighthouse share the same minimal style and color scheme of an eggshell white exterior with beige trim. There are some nice frescoes inside the chapel that were rediscovered during a restoration project, but continued construction on the site prevented me from entering the interior. A bell inside the chapel was used to transmit storm warnings across the sometimes turbulent seas. The annual feast day of Our Lady of the Snow is celebrated here on August 5. The overlook adjacent to the chapel affords some splendid views of Macau, and this is a nice place to relax after a brisk hike here, construction notwithstanding. Cannons and an old anchor add ambience to the fortress.
Guia Hill is not far from the Macau Ferry Terminal, but its maze of streets surrounding the foot of the hill may be very confusing.
From journal Bill in China - MACAU