At only 300 feet (91.4 meters) in elevation, Guia Hill does not rank high on the list of world’s tallest summits. Nevertheless, visitors to Macau’s highest point are still awarded with a clear view of the city which can stretch nearly all the way to Lantau Island across the channel in neighboring Hong Kong. Given its advantageous location it only makes sense that this is where the Portuguese opted to build the historic Guia Fort and its accompanying lighthouse, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage attractions as part of the greater Historic Centre of Macau.
Constructed in the 17th century along with a small chapel, the lighthouse at Guia Fort was the first western-style lighthouse built anywhere along the East Asian coastline. Prior to the high-rise skyscrapers which tower outside of the fort today, the light from the lighthouse was visible at distances of up to 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) out to sea. Although the fort was constructed as a defensive position against the neighboring Chinese, the most practical use it ever saw was to warn residents of oncoming typhoons as broadcasted by a messaging system adjacent to the lighthouse.
Located nearby other Macau historic attractions such as Monte Fort and the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul, Guia Fort also houses a curious bit of history at the entrance to the chapel. As visitors will notice, there is a small engraving in Portuguese which states, “Here lies at this gate the remains of Christopher, by accident, for his body does not deserve such an honorable sepulcher.” Seeing as there is no record of just exactly who Christopher was, it’s just another quirky tidbit of the past found in one of Asia’s quirkiest corners.