Macau Heritage Travel Guide – City Historic Centre
Macau’s Heritage is founded on the “Historic Centre of Macao“, the product of over 400 years of cultural exchange between the West and China. Mainly architectural and predominantly European, the heritage sites provides a link to the West while being complety asian.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s refer to the remains of the old Church of Mater
Dei and St. Paul’s College. Following what is thought to be the architectural
design of Italian Jesuit Carlo Spinola and under the direction of Father
Valignano. Essential Heritage Macau travel site.
Located at Barra.
An essential part of any Heritage Macau Travel is the A Ma Temple. Even though there are no exact records, it is believed that the construction
of A-Ma Temple began in the 15th century.
This is the oldest of the three principal old temples of Macao. It already existed before the city of Macao came into being. Many says that the name “Macao” was derived from the Chinese “A-Ma-Gau” meaning “Bay
of A-Ma”, referring to A-Ma Temple.
Located at the Senado Square
The center of Macau tour: The Leal Senado Building (Loyal Senate Building).
Erected in 1784, it faces the Leal Senado Square (Largo do Leal Senado).
The architecture style in the Leal Senado building is neo-classical. Central
Senado Square has always been the city
centre. In the past, this was where the governors inspected military troops
and the police force when they took up their posts. Top attraction in Macau
Located at St. Dominic’s Square
Spanish Dominican priests constructed the original St. Dominic’s
Church in 1587. The church is also known as the “Church
of Our Lady of the Rosary” because it was originally dedicated to Our Lady of
the Rosary. Central
St. Joseph’s Seminary was established by the jesuits in 1728. The Seminary
made a significant contribution to training Priests to work in missions
throughout Asia, particularly in China. Essential Heritage Macau travel site for those interested in Christianity and history.
The construction of Mount Fortress was initiated by the Jesuits in 1617
and completed in 1626. Mount Fortress was once a principal military facility
and was one of the city’s strongest defence points. The top platform
of Mount Fortress has a landscaped garden offering a commanding view of
the cityscape. Central
The fortress was equipped with sentry posts, ammunition depots and watchtowers.
Inside the fortress lie Guia Chapel and Guia Lighthouse. The chapel is
dedicated to Our Lady of the Snow. Guia Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse
on the coast of China. South West
Heritage Macau travel tour.
Located close to the Inner Harbour, the Moorish Barracks were originally
named “Quartel dos Mouros” in Portuguese. In 1871, an Italian architect named Cassuto designed the Moorish-style building to accommodate
the Indian policemen.
St Lawrence Church
Rua de São Lourenço
Built in around 1569, St. Lawrence’s Church was one of the three
oldest churches in Macao. Given its location near the southern coastline
of Macau, families of Portuguese sailors used to stand on the church steps
to pray and wait for their return, giving rise to its Chinese name: Feng
Shun Tang (“Church of Smooth-sailing Wind”).
Holy House of Mercy
In 1569, the first Bishop of Macao, Dom Belchior Carneiro, founded the
Holy House of Mercy. Since its earliest days, the Holy House of Mercy has
devoted its work to the local community, providing charitable assistance
in the spirit of Christian fraternity. Central
Rua de São Lourenço
The Mandarin’s House was built in around 1881. This is the former
residence owned by eminent modern Chinese thinker Zheng Guanying and his
father Zheng Wenrui. Zheng Guanying himself was a member of the literati
who published several books that are still considered classics today.
On the other side of San Ma Lou, a street on the left of the Leal Senado Building goes up steeply towards the St Augustine Square. This square is cobbled in black and white in the Portuguese style and surrounded by the seminary, library, theater, church and houses.
Hilltop Macau tour will bring you to Dom Pedro V Theatre dated 1860. In 1873, the main façade
of the building was renovated adopting a more neo-classical touch, including
pilasters and a pediment on the main façade. The theatre was left
unused for almost twenty years because of termite problems but resumed
operations after extensive restoration work carried out in 1993.
Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
Santo Agostinho Square
Constructed before 1894, this building originally belonged to D. Carolina
Cunha. It was later bought by Sir Robert Ho Tung in 1918 to be his villa. Interesting Heritage Macau site in view of the Governor Ho.
Located at Santo Agostinho Square
A group of Spanish Augustinian priests constructed a seminary from wood
and taipa in 1586. The seminary was moved to Santo Agostinho Square in
1591 and St. Augustine’s Church was erected at that time.
Located at Rua Sul do Mercado de São Domingos
The temple was originally a guild house of the Sam Kai (Three Streets)
Association, covering Rua dos Mercadores, Rua dos Ervanários and
Rua das Estalagens. Established between 1723 and 1795, it is the earliest
local guild in Macao. Central
Located at Cathedral Square
Another hill top Macau tour will reveal the cathedral or S of the Macau
Catholic Church. Established around 1622 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary,
the Cathedral was always visited by every new Governor who came to place
his sceptre, the symbol of authority, next to the statue of the Virgin
Mary. Central Macau Tour.
Lou Kau Mansion
Located at No. 7, Travessa da Sé
This Macau travel heritage house was built in around 1889 and was one of the residences of the
wealthy Lou Lim Iok family. Constructed in grey brick, this two-storey
building is a typical Chinese house divided into a main hall with side
Na Tcha Temple built in 1888 stands adjacent to the Ruins of St.Paul’s,
close to the remaining Section of the Old City walls. The small Na Tcha
Temple looks humble, but retains its distinctive dignity. Compared with
the adjacent structures, Na Tcha Temple resembles a miniature architectural
scale model. Central
Old City Walls
From the map of Macao of 1632, it is possible to observe that the city
was already well protected in the north, east and south, with strategic
military constructions. The Section of the old City Walls was part of these
defence structures. Central
St Anthony Church
Located at Santo António Square
St. Anthony’s Church was first built with bamboo in around 1560
and is one of the three oldest churches in Macao. For the Catholics, St.
Anthony is considered the patron saint of marriages and formerly members
of the Portuguese community would carry out their wedding ceremonies there,
giving rise to the Chinese name of “Fa Vong Tong” (Church of
Located at Camões Park
First built in 1770, the Casa Garden was originally the villa of the wealthy
merchant Manuel Pereira. At a later period it was rented out to the Macao
Branch of the English East India Company as a residence for commercial
directors, taipans and high-ranking British officers stationed in China.
Northern Macau Tour.
The Old Macau Protestant Cemetery is situated directly to the east of the Praca
Luis de Camoues and can be reached by walking north and downhill from the Ruins
of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Macau heritage sites contains the oldest and compact gathering of European architecture in the whole of China. Often called the “Gateway between East and West” Macau was settled by Portuguese navigators in the mid-16th century. The “Historic Centre of Macao” coincides with the heart of the western settlement area, also known as the “Christian City” in history.
For almost three centuries, until the colonisation of Hong Kong in 1842, Macao’s strategic location at the mouth of the Pearl River meant that it retained a unique position in the South China Sea, serving as the hub in a complex network of maritime trade that brought tremendous wealth and a constant flow of people into the enclave.
People of different nationalities came, bringing their own cultural traditions and professions, permeating the life of the city as can been seen in both intangible and tangible influences.
This is evident in the introduction of foreign building typologies such as western-style fortresses and architecture. Macao also inherited various cultural experiences and regional influences, further developing these in conjunction with the local Chinese culture and blending them to produce the rich texture seen in the city’s exceptional heritage.
Exposure to diverse cultures in this lasting encounter between the eastern and western worlds has therefore benefited Macao in assimilating a rich array of cultural heritage. (source: Macau Patrimonio Mundial)