Macao – A Historic Centre
One of the best preserved historical places in the world, Macao is a blend of Asian and European culture. With over 400 years of cultural exchange, Macao is well known for its architectural wonders and world heritage sites. This year marks the 15thanniversary of the inscription of the Historic Centre of Macao on the UNESCO World Heritage list. With its historic streets, monuments and age-old heritage, Macao promises to stand true to being the land of cultural heritage.
Macao represents a beautiful example of cultural and architectural heritage. Macao over the past decades has proved to be a fast growing economic region.
Here are a few historic sites that showcase the co-existence of the two distinct cultures.
St. Paul Ruins
One of the most iconic landmarks in Macao, St. Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed in a fire in 1835. The ruins are the only things that remain and this historic place is one of the most popular and visited places in Macao. The Ruins of St. Paul’s continue to captivate visitors centuries after it was originally constructed. The original structure was burned down leaving the beautiful granite facade and a grand staircase.
One of the oldest and famous temples in Macao, A-Ma temple is dedicated to the goddess Mazu, known to be the protector of the seafarers and fishermen. The temple boasts of marvellous architecture and overall design. The temple is inspired by Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs. The square opposite to the temple is often packed with different types of street performances.
Leal Senado Building
Situated in the heart of Macao’s vibrant and colourful Senado Square, Leal Senado building was built in 1784. This was one of the first municipal chambers and is home to Macao’s municipal court. The building houses a gallery which holds exhibitions on the ground floor.
The Mount Fortress is amongst the most popular places in all of Macao. It was a primary military defence spot and is regarded as the historical military centre of Macao. The Macao museum was built inside the fortress in 1989, providing tourists with an insight into the history and culture of Macao. The top platform of Mount Fortress has a landscape garden offering excellent view of the cityscape.
A neo-classical building with Mughal influences, the Moorish Barracks was built in 1874 as a home for an officer from Goa who was appointed to strengthen the island’s police force. It is a designated part of Macao’s history and attractions.
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Built in 1860, this theatre is one of the oldest in Macao. It was built in memory of the Portuguese King Pedro V and is considered to be the first western theatre. This theatre is also a significant cultural landmark among the local community.
The Mandarin’s house was built around 1869 and is a remarkable historic residential complex. The house has some western architectural influence and is a popular tourist attraction. Its entry into UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a part of Historic Centre of Macao in 2005 brought the world’s attention to it. This heritage site covers an area of around 4,000 square meters and extends over 120 meters.