Luis de Camoes Garden
Praca Luis de Camoes Macau, Macau
Neighborhood: Macau Peninsula
Luis de Camoes Garden is one of the largest parks in Macau.
In the early 18th century, there was a piece of undeveloped land occupied by the Chairman of the British East India Company.
After the British moved out in 1835, it was bought over by a Portuguese merchant, who later built his resident house there.
The merchant adored raising doves and his hundreds of doves always hovered near the garden, forming a marvelous scene famous near and far.
After the death of the merchant, the garden was donated to the government and later opened to public as a memorial garden dedicated to Louis de Camoes, a famous Portuguese poet who lived four hundred years ago.
Hence the name Luis de Camoes Garden.
Cameos Grotto is the most famous scenic spot in this garden. After riling the court officials, Luis de Camoes was exiled to Macau and lived in this cave where later he finished the national epic Os Lusiadas.
Portugal’s greatest poet, Luis de Camoes composed his national epic “Os Lusiadas” to chronicle the great Portuguese explorations that created the world’s first globe-girdling empire.
The small mountains, trees, grass and flowers, every detail of the large tapestry captures your imagination as you walk along the winding paths to finally reach the highest point, the Gazebo.
In 1849, a bust of Luis de Camoes was installed in this grotto by the Portuguese merchant. Behind the grotto, paths lead up to a wooded hill and a belvedere where stone tables and seats were installed for people to have a rest.
At the far end of the garden is a fountain that contains a bronze sculpture entitled “Embrace”, specially made to symbolize the centuries’ old friendship between Portugal and China.
Standing in the park is the bronze statue ‘Embrace’ which symbolizes the friendship between China and Portugal.
The garden is a great place for a battery-recharging stroll.
These pleasant gardens come alive in the morning. Slow, silent t’ai chi groups rub shoulders with lively aerobics classes powered by a tape machine.
Chinese of all ages jog, stretch and gossip their way into the day.
Macau’s most popular park is frequented from dawn to dusk by tai chi enthusiasts, lovers, students, and men huddled over Chinese chessboards with their caged songbirds nearby.
Later, in a corner of the park songbirds are shown off by newspaper-reading owners, straining to make sure their bird is warbling the loudest. Nearby old men play Chinese checkers and smoke in the sun.
Engravings from 1810 to 1825 – Camoens Cave, at Macao
June 10th, the day Camoes died, was declared ‘Portugal Day’ by the government. On that day every year, Portuguese in Macau assemble in the park to celebrate the holiday and remember the poet.
At the far end of the park is a statue dedicated to martyred St. Andrew Kim Taegon (August 21, 1822-September 15, 1846), the first Korean Catholic priest.
The history of botanic gardens in Macau starts with the “Flower Nurseries” during the Ming (AD 1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (AD 1644-1911) when westerners introduced many exotic plants. During the 18th and 19th centuries, a wealthy Portuguese merchant rented his palace (now renamed the Camoes Garden) to the British East India Company. The garden of the palace was used to grow exotic plants before sending them to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK.
The Camoes Garden is still running a tree nursery with an area of 4,500 m2 and has a large number of old trees such asMimusops elengi, Artocarpus nitidus subsp. lingnanensis, Erythrina variegata andSyzygium cuminii. Another site called a botanic garden is the Flora Garden, which was used as a tree nursery by the Macau Governor Tomas de Sousa e Rosa in the 19th century. The Flora Garden is home to many unique and rare plants, such as Crescentia alata, whose leaf resembles the shape of a cross.
The wooded garden attracts a fair number of chess players, bird owners and Chinese shuttlecock kickers. The Sr Wong Ieng Kuan Library is also here.
Camoes Garden is a popular spot for locals to do their morning exercises, to play chess, to walk their caged birds (a Chinese custom) or to meet with friends. It’s an oasis in the busy city.
The Gazebo, a Chinese pavilion at the highest point in the park. Here, stone tables and stools were installed for local people to rest, read newspapers, play Chinese checkers or chess, or enjoy the panoramic view of the city’s Inner Harbor.