World Heritage Sites 11-15+ Back

11. Leal Senado Building 

Macau’s City Hall was built in 1784 and means “Loyal Senate” in Portuguese.  The name derives from the time of King Joao IV, who restored Portuguese sovereignty in Portugal by overthrowing Spain's Phillip III in 1640.  Macau was in a sorry state at the time, cut off from Europe, a shadow of its former self.  Indeed all of Portuguese Asia was in shambles.  But the residents were overjoyed with the news and threw together what they could to offer Joao IV a humble tribute of guns and money.  When their new King on the other side of the world received it, and was told what condition the pitiable city was in and where it was, he proclaimed of them, “City of the Name of God Macau, There is None more Loyal.”


Leal Senado building in Macau


Leal Senado's current appearance dates back to a renovation in 1940.  The library on the 1st floor opened in 1929 and was modelled after the Biblioteca do Convento, a library in the Mafra National Palace.  There's also a splendid little courtyard in the back.


  antique library on the second floor of Leal Senado in Macau back fountain at Leal Senado Building in Macau


Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm     Location: No 163 San Ma Lo     

1:00 pm to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday (Library)

10:00 am to 11:30 am, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday (Meeting Room)  


12. Senado Square

If any kind of public function is taking place in Macau, rest assured, it will happen in Senado Square.  The centrepiece of Macanese life, it’s been closed off to traffic and fully pedestrian since 1993.  The distinctive black and white sea wave tile was also laid down that year. 


fountain and garden in Senado Square Macau small lane decorated with plants and flowers in Senado Square Macau


The buildings in the square are all over 100 years old, while the fountain was added in 1970.  From then on the locals began calling the Square just that: Pan Shui Chi, or fountain, in English.   


Senado Square lit up at night with decorations decorative lamps lit up at night in Senado Square

Location: Opposite to Leal Senado Building


13. Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple

This temple was built in honour of the Saint of War, Kuan Tai, who represents loyalty, righteousness and bravery.  No one quite knows when the temple was first constructed, only that it was built by local tradesmen and that a restoration occurred in 1792. 


exterior of Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple in Macau two big lamps inside Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple


Sam Kui itself translates into "Three Streets", referring to Rua dos Mercadores, Rua dos Ervanarios, and Rua das Estalagens, the old main district of Chinese commerce.  The temple then became the traditional meeting ground for many local shop owners and businessmen.


main altar at Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple in Macau lamp inside Sam Kui Viu Kun temple in Macau three swords inside Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple temple door man at Sam Kui Viu Kun Temple 


Location: Rua Sul do Mercado de Sao Domingos   Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm 


14. Holy House of Mercy

Macau’s social welfare system dates back to 1569, when the first Bishop of Macau founded the Holy House of Mercy.  A charity institution, it first provided assistance to the widows of dead sailors as well as food for impoverished families.  Neoclassical in style, the building’s present structure and form dates back to 1905. 


exterior of the Holy House of Mercy

A small museum on the 2nd floor houses a lot of Christian texts and relics, some of which date back to the 16th Century.


antique wooden furniture at the Holy House of Mercy carving of Bethleham art piece at the Holy House of Mercy outdoor balcony on the second floor of the Holy House of Mercy


Location: Senado Square     Opening Hours: (Museum) 10:00 am to 1:00 pm  2:30 pm to 5:30 pm  (Closed on Mondays)

15. Cathedral

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Cathedral was originally made of wood and built sometime before 1576.  For its second incarnation in 1622 it was constructed of soil and straw.  After being severely damaged by a typhoon in 1836, Cathedral was redesigned by a local Macanese artist in 1850.  Until the 1950's, the building used to be painted pale yellow, quite the contrast to today's grey gruff demeanour.  


exterior of Cathedral in Macau  

Historically, it’s been the custom of every Macau Governor to place their sceptre next to the Virgin Mary before they take office.


Cathedral is one of the two churches involved in the Passion of Our Lord Procession held annually in February or March.


Location: No 1 Cathedral Square     Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm


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