Macau, where China and Portugal meet

Macau, where China and Portugal meet

A drawing competition in Macau inspires YP junior reporters to learn how its culture is different from the British-based traditions of Hong Kong

Young Post co-organised the Macau World Heritage Drawing Competition with the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) to inspire Hong Kong students to appreciate Macau's cultural heritage.

There were 30 finalists, and each took part in a summer tour of Macau with their parents. Young Post's junior reporters tagged along, and here's what they did ...

We first went to the Institute for Tourism Studies to learn about Macau and its heritage from a representative from MGTO and Macanese film director Lorence Chan.

The venue should be a heritage site itself, not just because of its beautiful, resort-like campus, but also for its awards and the pride it brings to Macau.

Two of the institute's awards are the Medal of Merit for Tourism by the Macau SAR Government and a Guinness World Record for the largest postcard mosaic.

Built in 1860, the Dom Pedro V Theatre is the first Western-style theatre in China. It is one of the historical buildings in the Historic Centre of Macao on Unesco's World Heritage List.

Besides its history, the building itself is a treat because its exterior is painted light green, which cools and calms you just by looking at it, even in the hot, humid summer.

St Lawrence's Church is a good example of beautiful neoclassical architecture. The church was built in the mid-16th century, making it one of the three oldest churches in Macau.

Although climbing all the steps in the summer heat might be exhausting, it's all worth it to enjoy the church's serene atmosphere. The families of Portuguese sailors also found the church soothing, which is why they gathered here to pray for the sailors' safe return. That's how it got its nickname, Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds).

Leal Senado was built in 1784 and was Macau's original municipal chamber.

The building is large, with the main façade standing 14.5 metres tall and 44 metres wide. Every centimetre is amazing to look at, with its neoclassical design and its interior perfectly preserved.

The building includes a library styled after the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal, and even a small chapel.

Macau got its name from A-Ma Temple, or "A-Ma-Gau" in Chinese, meaning Bay of A-Ma, on the shore of which the temple is located.

A-Ma Temple is a collection of temples for different deities, with the first structure built in the 15th century, before Macau was established. With its many temples, A-Ma is regarded as a great example of Chinese culture of that period.

There are many Western-style heritage sites in Macau, but A-Ma Temple is a classic Chinese heritage site, with its Chinese-style arches, gold-garnished characters, and the calming smell of burning incense sticks. It's one of the must-go places to see the Chinese side of Macau.

Lilau Square was one of the first Portuguese residential areas in Macau, which can be clearly seen by its European-style structures.

They look like the faux Italian shops at The Venetian, but more authentic.

The square was also the main source of natural spring water in Macau. There is a colossal banyan tree in the middle of the square, so there was no doubt that the water was natural.

The residential complex Mandarin's House, also known as Zhengjia House, was the home of Zheng Guan-ying, an influential writer in the 19th century. Built around 1869, its Chinese traditional maze-like structure within the compound reflects the lives of previous Macanese generations. It has mysterious passageways, classy bedrooms and intricate carvings along the walls and windows of the compartment.

Mandarin House is right next to Lilau Square, creating an incredible sight of Chinese style and Western style, like yin and yang.

St Joseph's Seminary - or "House of the Mission Congregation", the royal title given in 1800 by Portuguese Queen Dona Maria I - was established in 1728, and, together with St Paul's College, it was the main base for the Catholic Church's missionary work in East Asia, including China and Japan.

Next to the seminary is St Joseph's Church, which was built in 1758 and is an exemplary model of baroque architecture in China. Surrounded by a collection of Macau's other famous heritage sites - including the famous Ruins of St Paul's Church - St Joseph's Church was definitely one of the many well-preserved heritage sites of Macau. The church is one of the last standing Baroque-style churches left in China, which makes a visit there one that foreign tourists value.

Inside the church lie religious relics of St Francis Xavier that are hugely significant to the church and its followers. Although the church has stopped holding its services, tourists and local residents are more than welcome to visit the perimeter.

The tour ended with an amazing buffet dinner 338 metres above ground at Macau Tower's 360° Cafe. We had the whole view of Macau and even saw some brave bungee jumpers from the floor above us.

See more videos from the summer tour in our video gallery page

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Where China, Portugal meet


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