Macau (sometimes known as Macao) is one of the most unique destinations in Asia with its East-Meets-West architecture and culture which coexists side by side with a modern and lavish lifestyle generated by its casinos and tourist industry. Known by many as the Asia’s gaming capital, Macau is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 20 historical locations of note. Among the most noticeable attractions are St. Paul’s Church and Largo do Senado (Senate Square) which are known as the heart of old Macau.
Macau Historic Centre Overview
The Historic Center of Macau is a great example of how Europe can successfully blend with Asia as in Macau Europeans and Asians have lived and traded with each other for a long time and still do so today. Macau was a Portuguese settlement and a stronghold of Christianity in Asia from the mid-16th century as well as displaying Chinese influences through a number of buildings and gardens. All are connected or linked along the island’s narrow streets, old mosaic pathways and squares.
Highlights and Features
- The Ruins of St. Paul: This is probably the busiest landmarks in Macau. It’s always crowded, especially during the day. The ruins are what are left of a Portuguese cathedral that was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1835. Tourists can go up to the inner part of the façade for an elevated view of Macau.
- Senado Square: Located in the heart of old Macau and close to other heritage sites such as the ruins of St. Paul and the Holy House of Mercy, the beautiful square is surrounded by many colorful vintage colonial buildings and busy day and night.
- Na Tcha Temple and Section of the Old City Walls: This single-chamber Taoist temple was built in 1888 and is located just behind the ruins of St. Paul’s. The section of the Old City walls is right by the side of the temple. It was constructed as early as 1569 and is a sample of traditional Portuguese defensive walls found in their settlements around the world.
- A-Ma Temple: A-Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Macau and was built more than 500 years ago before the arrival of the Portuguese.