The traces of history are always very interesting. How can you miss a trip to Macau? Today, I will share with you the route to appreciate Macau’s history.
Welcome to experience the charm in this lovely historical city, where two civilisations encounter, and capture every unforgettable moment with your eyes and camera.
1.Avenida da Praia Grande
Overlooking a beautiful lake and situated in the southern part of the peninsula, the Avenue is 1130 metres long and originally known as Nam Van Street. Its current name was given in 1995. A commercial centre today, the Avenue still retains its attractive appearance and is surrounded by historical buildings such as the former Court Building.
First built at the end of the 16th century and originally known as the Senate and Municipal Council, it was Macao’s first municipal chamber, a function it maintains to the present. The complex was deteriorated due to storms and went through several renovations. Its current appearance is the result of renovation in 1940. Throughout the past centuries, the building had served as municipal office, museum, post office, health centre, court and prison in different times. Many historical stone inscriptions and carving on the wall tell the stories of its past. Inside the building on the first floor there is a ceremonial meeting room that opens onto an elaborate carved library and a small chapel. Building is neo-classical in design and has retained all its original master walls and primary layout, including the Portuguese courtyard garden in the back.
Opening Hours : 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fees : Free
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.
4.General Post Office Building
Adjacent to Senado Square, the historic building once housed the local charitable society Tung Sin Tong. The architecture was designed by José Chan, the first Chinese chief architect appointed by the Macao Land and Sea Public Works Department. Built in 1929, it’s a classical architecture of great artistic value. For the past decades, Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau has been offering postal services for locals and visitors. Electronic post and express mail services are also available nowadays. You can buy your favourite stamps and postcards and mail to your beloved ones, making your visit more meaningful.
Opening Hours : 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays;9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays
5.St. Dominic’s Church
Founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico, this church is also connected to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was here that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China (“The China Bee”), on 12th September 1822. The bell tower, at the back of the building, has been modified into a small Museum of Sacred Art, now exhibiting a collection of around 300 artifacts.
Address : St. Dominic’s Square
Opening Hours : 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
6.Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple)
This temple is located close to the old Chinese Bazaar area, which nowadays functions as St. Dominic’s Market, still keeping the essence of the original function of the area. The location of this Chinese construction at the heart of the main city square with its predominantly western-style architecture illustrates the harmonious coexistence of the two cultures. This temple is directly associated with long-standing Chinese business associations, precursors to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the city.
Address : Rua Sul do Mercado de São Domingos
Opening Hours : 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
7.Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business
In regard to the situation of the Novel coronavirus pneumonia, the Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business will be temporarily closed until further notice.
“Tak Seng On” [The Virtue and Success Pawnshop] was established in 1917 , and belonged, initially, to Mr. Kou Ho Ning a wealthy Macao merchant. The architectural design and layout, interior decor and equipment of this establishment would have been very similar to pawnshops in Mainland China at the time.
Today, this kind of pawnshop has been relegated to the annals of history, but as part of its mission to preserve the cultural heritage of Macao, the Cultural Institute of the Macao S.A.R. Government has restored “Tak Seng On” to its original condition. By visiting this historic premise, locals and tourists can glimpse the heyday of the pawn business in Macao.
Address : Av. Almeida Ribeiro No. 396
Opening Hours : From 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Closed on the first Monday of every month)
Fees : Free admission
Tel : +853 8988 4027
Website : www.icm.gov.mo
8.Tung Sin Tong Historical Archive Exhibition Hall
Established in 1892, Tung Sin Tong Charitable Society was the first such Chinese charitable organization in Macao, and is the only one in China to have provided an uninterrupted service since its inception. From its humble origins of providing food, clothing and medicine to the poor, it has grown into a sizeable institution that today operates nurseries, a primary and secondary school, an adult-education centre, medical clinics and pharmacy, and dispenses rice and cooking oil to the needy. Learn more about this inspiring institution – and the people of Macao – in the Archive Exhibition Hall.
Address : No. 55, Rua de Camilo Pessanha, Macao
Opening Hours : 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Closed on Tuesdays and mandatory holidays)
Fees : Free admission
Tel : +853 2838 9773, +853 2892 2022
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in the early years of the reign of Emperor Daoguang during the Qing Dynasty, Carpentry Guildhall was the oldest labour union in Macao and has become the site for Macao Carpentry Trade Union today. The Guildhall was established for three traditional professions in construction industry in the old days, including carpenters, scaffolders and stone carvers. Later the wall-painting profession was also included as part of the industry. As days went by, different trade unions were founded specifically for other construction professions. The Guildhall has thus become a trade union mainly for local carpentry profession. The 13th day of the 6th month in Lunar Calendar is master Lu Ban’s birthday. In commemoration of this famous Chinese carpenter and the patron saint of Chinese builders in ancient times, you’ll find celebrations held at the temple dedicated to him in the Guildhall on the day. Originally built in 1840, the building became the Carpentry Guildhall thanks to the donation of its property owner. It was later burned down by a fire in 1855 and funds were raised to rebuild the premises into what it looks today. At the moment, the main hall of the Temple displays a large lock by Lu Ban. In the exhibition room, more than 80 traditional wooden tools, including saws, planes, drills and ink markers, etc are on display. Aside from showing the traditional techniques and wisdom of our ancestors, it also draw people’s attention to carpentry techniques and the traditional industries.
Opening Hours : 10:00 – 18:00 (The Woodcraft Works of Master Lu Ban Exhibition Room), closed on Wednesdays and public holidays
10.Rua de Camilo Pessanha
In the old days, it was one of the typhoon shelters situated at the North Bay (known as the Inner Harbour today) in the past. There were lots of reed flowers grown on this rocky area, and hence the place was also known as the “Reed Shore” in the Chinese community. During the reign of Emperor Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty, the Portuguese government turned the wetlands and waterways of the North Bay into land and a neighbourhood was therefore established on this reclaimed land. In the past, lots of shops in this vicinity were famous for the production of opium pipe and the technique was considered very unique at the time that one couldn’t find it elsewhere. The pipe was even exported to Beijing for sales. Today you can see some very local handicraft shops around this neighbourhood.
11.Happiness Street (Rua da Felicidade)
The pursuit of happiness brought us to a street called “happiness” and the name has its origins in a seedy past. It was once the heart of Macao’s red light district. There are several restaurants on this traditional street that offer tantalizing delicacies today. There, you will have a chance to sample a great Chinese cuisine and find your favourite souvenirs.
12.Cheng Peng Theatre
Located on a narrow street off the main Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, which was once part of the wetland at the Inner Harbour, the Theatre was built in 1875 and presented Cantonese opera to local audience. It’s the first theatre in Macao and its Chinese name literally means peace and prosperity. The Theatre started showing films as well later. But along with the declining theatre industry in the 1990s, it was closed down in 1992 and turned into a warehouse for storage purposes and was abandoned after. Today you can still see the fading Chinese characters of its name carved on its exterior wall as a record for visitors to trace back its history.
13.Rua da Caldeira
The street used to be a typhoon shelter at the North Bay of the Inner Harbour and is named after the foams stirred up along the coast.
Located on the western part of the peninsula, the Harbour has a coastline of 3,500 metres at length. With its half-ring shaped embankment, it’s the first harbour that served foreign merchant ships berthed at the North Bay. The historical Harbour is equipped with 34 piers in total, each of which is named after its assigned number for different functions. The Harbour mainly served the purposes of cargo shipment, inland river transport and berth for fishing boats. From Sino-Luso trade to declining fishing industry, the Harbour has witnessed the rise and fall of maritime transportation.
Located at the crossroad of Rua das Lorchas and Praça de Ponte e Horta, the building is the former Opium House built in the late 19th century in the waterside area of the Inner Harbour. It was first turned into a warehouse and then a crucible factory after opium was banned in 1946. An academic institution later rented the House for educational purposes. In 1996, the Opium House was renovated and thoroughly restored. In 2001 the second clinic of Tong Sin Tong Charitable Society moved into the House and since then has provided Chinese acupuncture and western medical services to general public. Today, the House has remained as an excellent witness to the typical architecture at the Inner Harbour in the golden years of the 19th century.
16.Praça de Ponte e Horta
It’s a spacious leisure plaza at the Inner Harbour. During the years from the reign of Emperor Kangxi to Emperor Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty, it functioned as a pier for the import of opium. It was also the first wharf reserved for opium trade and the first duty-levying area for tobacco taxation throughout the history of Macao and China, and even considered as the cradle of the Opium War. In the late 19th century, it was turned into a more spacious area due to land reclamation. The plaza became vibrant at night with stalls serving tea and entertaining performances in the past. It was also once a marketplace, where lots of venders gathered for business. Today, the plaza has become a recreational area for local citizens.
Through historical traces, we can explore those existing deeds. Through this route, we can discover what happened in Macau.