Historic Macau

Macau's historic center is, upon first glance, far more European than Chinese. This makes sense, as it was controlled by the Portuguese from the 16th century up until 1999.



We got off the fast ferry from Hong Kong (a mere hour's ride) and consulted a map. A short bus ride took us to Senado Square, the heart of historic Macau.


Instantly, it felt as though that short hour's ferry ride had whisked us away to another world.



Happily, everywhere in Macau accepts Hong Kong dollars, and we were able to get the famous Portuguese egg tart. In fact, we never once saw a Macanese pataca in our whole day there.


Of course there are little touches of local color even in this most Portuguese of areas, but it really did feel like we were in a European town, geography be damned.


This area is very colorful and many of the buildings are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, as the “historic center of Macao.” It is very well signposted with a series of green signs.


We liked the bright yellow color of many of the buildings, including Saint Dominic's Church, above.



The most iconic site in Macau is the ruins of St. Paul's. This was a very short walk from St. Dominic's.




Jeff enjoyed seeing the ruins.



The front facade of the church is all that stands today after a fire destroyed it in 1835. What's left, though, is ornate and stunning. We walked through this front to a small museum area which included pictures and drawings of the church from history. What's especially interesting is how little it has changed in appearance since shortly after most of the building was destroyed.



After gazing at the cool ruins, we walked through the narrow streets filled with vendors to eat at A Lorcha.



It turned out that historic A-Ma Temple was right around the corner from the restaurant. It was built in 1488 and dedicated to Matsu, goddess of seafarers and fishermen.



The incense was burning away quietly in this side building.



One thing that we noticed right away about Macau is that the Macau Peninsula is very compact and walkable. Also, that its historic center is pretty cute and feels worlds away from nearby Hong Kong, and even further from mainland China.

Have you been to Macau?

2 thoughts on “Historic Macau

  1. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    Gah! Now I am really regretting that we got the flu while in HK & weren’t able to muster the energy to make it over to Macau. Thankfully, we loved HK so much that we know one day we will be back… and with our triumphant return will certainly be a ferry-ride to Macau; it looks adorable!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..On Diving and DreamingMy Profile

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