Historical and Cultural Attractions to Visit in Macau, China
by Bradley Dodd
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021
If there’s one travel destination you have to include in your wanderlust checklist, it’s Macau. Despite the challenges of last year, this tiny but mighty city called the “Las Vegas of the East” has continued to thrive with Macau’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) nearing $38 million a day. You get the best of both worlds in this special administrative region, with impressive cityscapes and heritage sites within a few minutes of each other. Read on to discover some of this peninsula’s cultural must-sees:
1) A-Ma Temple
[Image - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Sanmon_of_A-Ma_Temple.jpg credit – No1lovesu under CC BY-SA 4.0 License. No changes were made to the image.]
Over 500 years old, A-Ma Temple (also called Ma Kok Miu) is among the oldest Taoist temples in Macau. Originally built in 1488 to honor Matsu, the goddess of fishermen and seafarers, A-Ma Temple has since evolved to house various worship pavilions for different deities. According to Poker.org, this historic location is supposedly where the Portuguese colonizers first landed, and where they found inspiration for the name “Macau”. From the ferry terminal, visitors can take the no.10 bus for a 30-minute trip to visit the temple. Entrance is free and guests can freely explore the various sections of the temple and light incense for prayers. The scent of incense fire is rich so those with sensitivities should take note.
Walking distance to other museums and cafes, the Ruins of St. Paul’s are perfect for a walking tour. This iconic landmark only consists of a 16th century cathedral’s façade, but the baroque ornamentation is still worth a visit. The design features five tiers, each one with bas-reliefs, Catholic saints, and traditional Chinese stone carvings. Staircases allow visitors a panoramic view of the city, while an underground museum hold religious artifacts. There is no entrance fee and it can be accessed via a bus.
3) Taipa Houses
[Image - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Macau_Taipa-Village.jpg credit - Rene Adrian Kong under CC BY-SA 4.0 License. No changes were made to the image.]
Consisting of five Macanese-designed structures, each home is painted a signature green hue. In 1992, the houses were recognized as one of Macao’s top eight destinations. Visitors to the Taipa Houses are given a unique view into the lives of Portuguese settlers from over a century ago, with original and restored furnishings inside. There is also a bookstore and art exhibition on the grounds. A former residential complex, it is now open to the public and visitors are free to explore at their own leisure. During holidays, outdoor performances are also popular.
4) Dom Pedro V Theater
[Image - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Teatro_Don_Pedro_V%2C_Macao%2C_2013-08-08%2C_DD_01.jpg credit - Diego Delso under CC BY-SA 4.0 License. No changes were made to the image.]
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the oldest theatre in Macau and the very first Western-style performance house in China. Having been a venue for dramas, high-society parties, and concertos, it is still most popularly known as an opera house. The Dom Pedro V Theater gets its name from the Portuguese king Pedro V for whom it was dedicated in the year 1860. The building holds an auditorium, ballroom, billiard room, parlor, and more. Its colorful history includes the Asian premiere of the Italian “Madame Butterfly” opera and its stint as a refugee shelter in WW2. Visitors are welcome all year round, and unless there is a special performance, admission is only MOP 15. To get there simply take bus no. 18 from the city center.
TheCultureTrip.com notes that there are a lot of exciting things in Macau, from its eclectic mix of Southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines to the thriving casinos, that make it one of the richest territories in the world. And these cultural attractions will further widen your understanding about this city.
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