Macau Historic Centre – UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Macau

The Historic Center of Macau was a mid 16th century Portuguese colony and now is the combination of Chinese and Portuguese culture. It is the 31st heritage sire in entire China. It is comprised of over 20 spots and a renowned cultural heritage in Macau, China. The Historic Center bears the assimilation of cultural legacies of the two states and exhibits the colonial establishment in China. There are monuments like urban squares churches and temples, residential areas and more other similar places inside the Center.

History of Historic Centre of Macau:

The Historic Center is one of the most popular world heritage sites in Macau and the rank is 31 in the entire China. Basically the Center was a former colony of Portuguese in China. This is one of favorite visiting place in Macau for its historic events. There are residential buildings with architectural beauties, temples and churches, ancient roads and over all is a blend of East and West. The center is the witness of the encounters of West with China during the colonial period.

Macau Historic Centre – UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Macau

Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau owns the buildings and runs through different authorities and is protected by different laws. Macau was considered as a potential port for development, and thus it was occupied by the Portuguese, strategically, who settled down in the area during the middle of the 16th century. As the gateway from the China to the West, the city contains some buildings and public spaces to continue the trade through the port. During its operation in the then colonial period, a large number of people from different nations settled here that made the city into the center of cultural exchange in China.

Macau Historic Centre – UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Macau

The people, who came in Macau, exercised their respective cultures and thus the cultural traditions have become the part of Macau’s History and the representations people can see in the Historic Center. The structures in the city are mostly inspired by foreign styles and finally they turned into a combo of local and international designs. The Center is mostly valued even today for its testimony of multicultural elements and relics that it has been bearing through centuries.    

Travel Guide information of Historic Centre of Macau:

Travelling at the Historic Center of Macau is easier and there are several routes to reach there. Since there are several locations, the travelers have to take different transportation mode to visit the site. Riding the public bus is the best way to reach the Historic Center from the mainland of Macau. The best way is to fly to Hong Kong and ride on the ferry leading to Macau, and then you can take either bus service or hire a taxi. Besides, you can also each Macau by shuttle helicopter service and then on your convenient vehicles like scooter, shuttle bus, cycle rickshaw etc.

Some Tips when you visit on Historic Centre of Macau:

Since Macau is lying on the sub tropical climate belt, the temperature is too hot during the summer. Natural disasters like typhoons occur during the late summer. If you plan the visit by this time, change your plan. Spring and winter are the best time to travel at the Historic Center. During your ride on the lighthouse, be careful as it is an antique one and bears testimony of ages.    

Macau Historic Centre – UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Macau

Culture & Customs of Historic Centre of Macau:

Macau was under the Portuguese domination from the mid of 16th century to the modern age (1999) and bears testimony of different cultures. As a port city, the population of the city was diversified and the establishments are the combinations of European and Asian culture. Now it is under special Administration of China for its title of World Heritage Site from 2005. The Heritage Walk Circuit is a good way to see the entire Center.

Macau Historic Centre – UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Macau

Transport/ Getting Around in Historic Centre of Macau:

Bus, shuttle bus, helicopter, cycle rickshaw, scooter, ferry boat.

Key Attractions of Historic Centre of Macau, China:

The list of famous buildings and attractions in the Historic Centre of Macau include

  • A-Ma Temple – Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.
  • Moorish Barracks – The barracks was built in August 1874 to accommodate a regiment from Goa, Portuguese India. It was designed by an Italian architect.
  • Lilau Square – Near A- Ma temple, it is a small public square featuring two Banyan trees.
  • Mandarins House – It was the residence and family home of the late Qing theoretician and reformist Zheng Guanying (1842-1921).
  • St Lawrence’s Church – It was first built approximately during 1558 and 1560 in memory of St. Lawrence, who is regarded by Portuguese as a patron saint in navigation.
  • St Joesphs Church – The seminary was established in 1728 and, following the end of the Jesuits’ mission, was taken over by the Lazarites. The church was erected in 1758.
  • Dom Pedro V Theatre – The theatre was built in 1860 by local Portuguese to commemorate their reigning king, Peter V. It used to be a regular meeting place for the Portuguese and Macanese people living in Macau.
  • Sir Robert Ho Tung Library – The building was constructed before 1894 and was owned by Dona Carolina Cunha. Later the mansion was purchased by Hong Kong businessman Sir Robert Ho Tung in 1918 as a retreat and he lived there between 1941 and 1945.
  • St Augustines Church – It was constructed in 1586 by Spanish Augustine priests.
  • Leal Senado Building – Built in 1784 by the Portuguese.
  • Senado Square – a beautiful paved town square that connects many of the iconic buildings. It was redeveloped in the 1990’s to what we see today.
  • Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple – Chinese Guan Yu temple.
  • Holy House of Mercy – It was built 1569 as a medical clinic
  • Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady – Originally built in 1623 it was later replaced in 1850 and rebuilt in 1937 with the stone building we see today.
  • Lou Kau Mansion – The building was built around 1889 as a home of Lou Kau, a prominent Chinese merchant.
  • St Dominics Church – Built in 1587 and established by three Spanish Dominican priests.
  • Ruins of St Pauls – Built from 1602 to 1640 by the Jesuits, the church was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia until it was mostly lost to fire in 1835.
  • Na Cha Temple – A Chinese folk temple that dates back to 1888.
  • Old City Walls – Constructed under Chinese rule in the late 1500’s
  • Monte Forte – The fort was built between 1617 and 1626 on the 52 metres tall Mount Hill, located directly east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s.
  • St Anthonys Church – originally built in 1560 it was reconstructed several times and what we see today is the 1930’s iteration built from stone.
  • Casa Garden – Built in 1770, the park was originally the residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant Manuel Pereira.
  • Protestant Cemetery – Established in 1821 by the British.
  • Gui Fortress – a 17th-century colonial military fort, chapel, and lighthouse complex.

Good to Know and What Not to Miss:

  • Even though Macau was handed over to China in 1999, Portugal still has strong presence: All street signs are written in Cantonese and Portuguese as they are both Macau’s official languages. 
  • The majority of restaurants and stores accept Hong Kong dollars but Macau Patacas are not accepted in Hong Kong.
  • Like nearby Hong Kong Macau is a ‘Special Administrative Region’ of China and uses a ‘one-country-two-systems’ principal; as a result to go there is convenient with no visa fuss. 
  • To really appreciate the Macao Historic Center, visitors might need a full day.