A’Famosa is more than just quick photo stop opportunity for tourists. Built in 1511, the settlement used to sprawl across a whole hillside but now only a lone gate (Porta de Santiago) remains. One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia; it is set beside the Istana ke Sultanan on Jalan Kota. A’Famosa is perhaps Malacca’s best known sightseeing spot. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque (who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate), the remains of the fort is now a crumbling whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church.
Structure of A’Famosa in the 16th century A’Famosa housed the entire Portuguese administration, including its hospitals, five churches, elongated stockades and four key towers. One tower was a four-storey keep; the others were an ammunition storage room, captain’s residence and an officer’s quarters. The rest of the bastion comprised of townhouses clustered inside the fortress walls. The fort was expanded in 1586 to accommodate Malacca’s growing population.
Dutch History in 1641 the Dutch wrested control of A’Famosa from the Portuguese and drove them out of the city. What remains is largely the Dutch reconstruction as they carried out renovation works in 1670, following the siege. To this day you can see a small inscription (ANNO 1670) on the fort’s arch as well as the coat-of-arms of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). A’Famosa changed hands again when Malacca fell into British hands during expansionist Napoleonic times. Initially under the impression that the VOC was to act as a caretaker administration until a time when the Dutch were able to fully resume control, they had no idea the fort would soon be lost to them forever.