Fortress of São Tiago

About the São Tiago Fortress

The History of Funchal records consecutive corsair attacks over the centuries. In order to protect the integrity of the city, some forts were built with the purpose of creating an effective defensive belt, which is why the Fortress of São Tiago was built. Today, it is a much visited point of interest.

Dating from the early 17th century, this fortress is strategically situated above the seafront of the Zona Velha (Old Town), the historic area of the city. Its construction began in mid-1614, under the responsibility of Reais Jerónimo Jorge, the royal master builder. It was later completed by his son, Bartolomeu João.

Over the centuries, the Fortress of São Tiago has undergone several renovations. Moreover, this urban fort, of military architecture, ended up serving various purposes: from headquarters of British troops or the Army Police, to the shelter for the victims of the flood that occurred in 1803, ending with the installation in this space of the Contemporary Art Museum, in 1992 (transferred in 2015 to the Casa das Mudas, in Calheta).

Today, visitors find in the Fortress of São Tiago an opportunity to travel through the History of the Island of Madeira, with a privileged view over the Atlantic.


Dating back to the early 17th century, the Fortress of São Tiago, located above the seafront in the Zona Velha, was erected to defend the city of Funchal from corsair attacks.

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