Anyone who knows a little bit about Chinese history knows that Macao was once a Portuguese colony. After Macao ’s return, there are still traces of Portugal ’s existence. Today I will share a Crossroads of China and Portugal. Interested friends can choose this road!
Take a stroll down the historic path in which two civilisations encounter, you’ll discover the life-long memory and emotions of Portuguese who once called Macao home.
Senado Square has been Macao’s urban centre for centuries, and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. Located close to the former Senate building, Sam Kai Vui Kun ( Kuan Tai Temple ) is also a reminder of the active participation of the local Chinese community in general civic affairs, providing a clear example of the multicultural dimension of the Macao community. The square is surrounded by pastel coloured neo-classical buildings, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere.
2.St. Augustine’s Square
St. Augustine’s Square gathers various classified buildings, such as St. Augustine’s Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, St. Joseph’s Seminary and Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. The cobblestone pavement unifies the area and reflects a traditionally Portuguese streetscape.
3.St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church
Established in 1728, the old Seminary, together with St. Paul’s College, was the principal base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region. St. Joseph’s Seminary taught an academic curriculum equivalent to that of a university and in 1800 the Portuguese Queen Dona Maria I conferred on it the royal title of “House of the Mission Congregation”. Adjacent to the Seminary is St. Joseph’s Church, built in 1758, an exemplary model of baroque architecture in China, as noted in UNESCO’s 2001 publication Atlas mundial de la arquitectura barroca.
Address : Rua do Seminário
Opening Hours : Church: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Seminary not open to the public)
4.St. Lawrence’s Church
Built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macao. Its present appearance and scale was acquired in 1846. Situated on the southern coastline of Macao overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighbourhood where the church is located used to be fairly wealthy, thus explaining the building’s scale and wealth of architectural treatment. It is a neo-classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspirations.
Address : Rua de São Lourenço (access from Rua Da Imprensa Nacional)
Opening Hours : Monday – Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.;Saturday & Sunday: 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Built before 1869, this was the traditional Chinese residential compound home of prominent Chinese literary figure Zheng Guanying. It is a traditional Chinese compound consisting of several courtyard houses, displaying a mix of Chinese and Western detailing, such as the use of grey bricks against arched ornamentations and Chinese timber lattice windows against mother-of-pearl window panels of Indian origin.
Address : No 10, Travessa de António da Silva, Macau
Opening Hours : 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (No admission after 5.30 p.m., closed on Wednesdays, except public holidays)
Fees : Free entrance
Tel : +853 2896 8820
Website : www.wh.mo/mandarinhouse
Remarks : Guided tours (in Cantonese) are offered at a fixed schedule on Saturdays and Sundays and online reservation is required
The ground water of Lilau used to be the main source of natural spring water in Macao. The Portuguese popular phrase: “One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macao” expresses the locals’ nostalgic attachment to Lilau Square. This area corresponds to one of the first Portuguese residential quarters in Macao.
A-Ma Temple already existed before the city of Macao came into being. It consists of the Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, the Prayer Hall, the Hall of Benevolence, the Hall of Guanyin, and Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist pavilion). The variety of pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities in a single complex make A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs.
Address : Barra Square
Opening Hours : 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
If the history of Macao is really connected to the sea, there is no better place for the Maritime Museum, than the Square of the Barra Pagoda, dedicated to the Taoist goddess “A-MA”, the protector of fishermen, and also believed to be the place where the Portuguese first landed. The precise spot is where the Maritime Museum is located, the building is in the shape of a sailing ship anchored in the waters of the Inner Harbour.
On the ground floor the visitor can see the traditions and the way of life of the fishermen in Macao and South China: there are several types of ships, instruments and methods of fishing, different varieties of fish and shellfish living in these waters and even a copy of a fisherman’s house, where the whole family can be seen sharing the tasks which precede or follow fishing activities.
The visitor should note the “Little A-Ma Theatre” which tells the legend of this Goddess in Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese and English.
The first floor is dedicated exclusively to the Great Discovery, emphasising the Maritime History of China and Portugal, since it was the sea, which brought these two civilisations together. The trips of Admiral Cheng He are shown in interactively displays. During the Ming dynasty (15th century) Cheng He charted India and Arabia from the sea and reached the Eastern coast of Africa. The routes of the Portuguese Discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries are also presented, together with samples of the products traded from that period: tea, spices…
The second floor is dedicated to Maritime Technology and Transport and it illustrates the way Macao has been connected to the sea. Several traditional tools can be observed along side models of the latest ships, for example the jetfoils that nowadays link Macao to Hong Kong. Special attention should be given to the monitor that enables the visitor to learn about Macao’s weather, particularly during the typhoon season when the formation of these tropical storms can be observed and tracked. In addition, visitors can view a sky over the Northern Hemisphere, demonstrating the importance of astronomy in navigation. Through interactions a visitor can find different constellations, including the one representing him/herself.
On the way out the visitor will cross a gallery of aquariums showing a riverbed, the harbour waters, a coral reef and last of all the seabed with the remains if an ancient shipwreck. Outside of the museum the visitor will find several real size exhibits, among which a dragon-boat similar to those raced during the Dragon Boat Festival.
Address : Largo do Pagode da Barra, no. 1, Macao
Opening Hours : From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Last admission at 5:30 p.m.). Closed on Tuesdays.
Fees : 10 to 17: MOP5 (Monday to Saturday) and MOP3 (Sunday); 18 to 64: MOP10 (Monday to Saturday) and MOP5 (Sunday); holder of valid Macao Resident Identity Card, children under 10 and seniors of 65 or above: Free.
Tel : +853 2859 5481
Fax : +853 2851 2160
E-mail : email@example.com
Website : www.museumaritimo.gov.mo
Remarks : The Museum includes a nice esplanade by the river with a bar, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Closed on Tuesdays). On the ground floor of the Museum there is a shop selling souvenirs and books about the city of Macao, maps, etc.
The above is the route where you can appreciate the fusion of Macau culture and Portuguese culture. Friends who like culture can choose this way to play!