The Historic Center of Macau, is a collection of over twenty magnificent heritage locations that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It represents the architectural legacies of the city’s cultural heritage, including monuments such as urban squares, streetscapes, churches and temples.

1A-Ma Temple

Address: Barra Square
Opening hours: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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One of the oldest and most famous temples in Macau. Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. The name Macau is thought to be derived from the name of the temple. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied “A-Ma-Gau” (bay of goddess A-Ma). The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macau”. A-Ma Temple is an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism.

2Moorish Barraks

Address: Calçada da Barra
Opening hours: Verandah: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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Built in 1874, this building was constructed to accommodate an Indian regiment from Goa appointed to reinforce Macau’s police force. This building is a clear reminder of Macau’s close links with Goa and their rank as sister cities in Portuguese history. The Moorish Barracks is a distinctly neo-classical building integrating architectural elements of Moghul influence. Now it serves as the headquarters of the Marine and Water Bureau.

3Mandarin House

Address: No 10, Travessa de António da Silva, Macau
Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (No admission after 5.30 p.m., closed on Wednesdays, except public holidays)
Free entrance

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The Mandarin’s House is a historic residential complex in Macau that was the residence of Zheng Guanying famed family. Zheng Guanying was one of the most important reformers and writers of late Qing dynasty, and was also important merchant based in Macau. This complex of houses, in which he wrote his masterpiece Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity, is the most magnificent example in the region of a traditional Guangdong family residence. Its sixty-odd rooms, grouped around a series of courtyards, fuse Chinese conventions with Western and Indian ornamentations.

4Lilau Square

Address: Lilau Square

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The ground water of Lilau used to be the main source of natural spring water in Macau. The Portuguese popular phrase: “One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macau” expresses the locals’ nostalgic attachment to Lilau Square. This area corresponds to one of the oldest Portuguese residential quarters in Macau.

5St. Lawrence’s Church

Address: Rua de São Lourenço (access from Rua Da Imprensa Nacional)
Opening hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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Built by the Jesuits in around 1560, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Its present appearance and scale took shape in 1846. It used to overlook the sea and families of Portuguese sailors gathered on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighborhood where the church is located used to be residence belonging to the opium-dealing British traders, thus explaining the building’s scale and wealth of architectural treatment. It is a neo- classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspiration.

6St. Jospeh Seminary

Address: Rua do Seminário
Opening hours: Church: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Seminary not open to the public)

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Established in 1728, the old Seminary, together with St. Paul’s College, was the principal base for the Jesuits. The seminary played a key role in missionary activities in China, Japan and around the region. Today the seminary houses Macau’s most famous relic – a fragment from Francisco Xavier elbow.

7Don Pedro V Theater

Address: Santo Agostinho Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed on Tuesdays; open on public holidays)

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Built in 1860 as the first western-style theatre in China with a seating capacity of 300. The theater is an important cultural landmark of the local Macanese and remains a venue for important public events and celebrations today.

8Sir Robert Ho Tung Library

Address: No. 3 Santo Agostinho Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Saturday); 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday)

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This mansion in typical Macanese style was constructed before 1894 and was originally the residence of Dona Carolina Cunha. Hong Kong businessman Sir Robert Ho Tung purchased it in 1918, using it as his retreat. He passed away in 1955 and in accordance with his will; the building was presented to the Macau Government for conversion into a public library.

9St. Augustine’s Square

Address: St. Augustine’s Square

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St. Augustine’s Square gathers various classified buildings, such as St. Augustine’s Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, St. Joseph’s Seminary and Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. The cobblestone pavement unifies the area and reflects a traditionally Portuguese streetscape.

10St. Augustine’s Church

Address: No.2 Santo Agostinho Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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First established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591, this church maintains the tradition of organizing one of the most popular processions through the city, the Easter Procession, involving thousands of devotees. In times past, during heavy rain, the priests used to reinforce the rooftop with fan palm leaves. Seen from afar, these leaves appeared to be dragon’s whiskers floating in the wind, hence the local Chinese named it Long Song Miu (Temple of the Long-whiskered Dragon).

11Leal Senado Building

Address: No. 163 Av. Almeida Ribeiro (San Ma Lo)
Opening hours: Gallery: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed on Mondays, open on public holidays), Garden: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

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Originally built in 1784, it is located at one end of the Senado Square and was the seat of Portuguese Macau’s government. The name “Leal Senado” (“Loyal Senate”) was a reward for Macau’s loyalty to Portugal, which refused to recognize Spain’s sovereignty during the Philippine Dynasty that it occupied Portugal between 1580 and 1640. The “Leal Senado” is neo-classical Building and has retained all its original master walls and primary layout, including the courtyard garden in the back. Inside the building on the first floor there is a ceremonial meeting room that opens onto a library similar to the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal, and a small chapel.

12Senado Square

Address: Senado Square

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Located in front of the former Senate building, the senado square is labeled as the heart of Macau and has been Macau’s town centre for centuries. It is still considered the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. The square is surrounded by pastel colored neo-classical buildings with long history, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere.

13Holy House of Mercy

Address: Senado Square
Opening hours (Museum): 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (closed on Mondays and public holidays)
Admission Fee (Museum) (Museum):MOP5; students and elderly people (over 65 years old): free.

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The establishment of the Macau Holy House of Mercy is tied up with the founding of the first local political institution, the Senate. “Confraternity and Fraternity of the Macau Holy House of Mercy”, as it was originally called, was created shortly after Macau was founded, in 1583. Standing on the Largo de Senado, the main square of Macau’s historic centre, the UNESCO-listed Santa Casa Di Misericordia is an extravagant baroque edifice that looks more akin to a palace than a former orphanage.

14Sam Kai Vu Kun

Address: Rua Sul do Mercado de São Domingos
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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This temple is located close to the old Chinese Bazaar area, which nowadays functions as St. Dominic’s Market, still keeping the essence of the original function of the area. The location of this Chinese construction at the heart of the main city square with its predominantly western-style architecture illustrates the harmonious coexistence of the two cultures. This temple is directly associated with long-standing Chinese business associations, precursors to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the city.

15St. Dominic Church

Address: St. Dominic’s Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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The construction of the church was finished in in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico, this baroque church is also connected to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was here that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China (“The China Bee”), on 12th September 1822. The bell tower, at the back of the building, has been modified into a small Museum of Sacred Art, now exhibiting a collection of around 300 sacred artifacts.

16LouKau Mansion

Address: No.7, Travessa da Sé
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., no admission after 5.30 p.m. (Closed on Mondays, except public holidays)

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The mansion is believed to be built in 1889.This was the home of Lou Kau, a prominent Chinese merchant who owned several imposing properties in the city. The location of this grand old house depicts the diverse social profile present in the centre of the old “Christian City”, where this traditional Chinese residence stands near Senado Square and Cathedral Square. Lou Kau Mansion is a two-storey, traditional grey-brick courtyard house, with the architectural characteristics of a typical Xiguan Chinese residential building.

17Cathedral

Address: No.1 Cathedral Square
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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The Cathedral of Macau, also known as Sé Catedral, is the mother church of the catholic Diocese of Macau, When first built in 1576, it was a small wooden chapel. In 1622, it was redesigned as a Cathedral. Whenever the local Catholics have any big celebrations, they hold them in the Macau Cathedral, showing the importance of the Cathedral in Macau people’s heart. On the right of the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Mansion; which houses the highest administrative department of Catholic affairs in Macau. The present building had to be rebuilt in the 1930’s after sever typhoon damage.

18Mount Fortress

Opening hours: Fortress and garden: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Macao Museum: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., last admission until 5:30 p.m. (closed on Mondays)

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Adjacent to the The Ruins of St. Paul’s, it as built in conjunction with the Jesuits from 1617 to 1626, this was the city’s principal military defense structure. Its strategic position, being fifty two metres above sea level, justified the settlement of the first Portuguese in the area. It provided an extensive fire arch as it covered the east, west and south coastlines. The fortress was equipped with cannons, military barracks, wells and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies to endure a siege lasting up to two years. The fortress covers an area of 10,000 square metres, in the shape of a trapezoid. The museum of Macau is situated inside the complex.

19Old City Walls

Address: No. 6 Calçada de S. Paulo (next to Ruins of St. Paul’s)

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This surviving segment of the city’s defence structures, built as early as 1569, is a remnant of an early Portuguese tradition of constructing defensive walls around their port settlements, done also in Africa and India. In Macau, this section bears testimony to the incorporation of local techniques and materials, especially a solid compound named chunambo, an elaborate mixture of clay, soil, sand, rice straw, crushed rocks and oyster shells compacted in successive layers.

20The Ruins of St. Paul’s

Address: Company of Jesus Square
Opening hours: Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (except Tuesday afternoon), no admission after 5:30 p.m. (Tuesdays: closed after 2 p.m. Open as usual on public holidays.)

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Considered Macau’s most famous landmark, the Ruins of St. Paul’s refer to the facade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei that was built by Jesuits from 1602 to 1640. This was the largest Catholic Church in Asia at the time before the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines was established by the Spaniards. The ruin features a spectacular and unique façade, carved by Japanese Christian exiles and Chinese stonemasons, containing a wonderful mix of Asian and Western images. The church was destroyed by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Paul’s College, which stood adjacent to the Church. Close by, the archaeological remains of the old College of St. Paul stand witness to what was the first western-style university in the Far East. Nowadays, the facade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s functions symbolically as an altar to the city.

21Na Tcha Temple

Address: No. 6 Calçada de S. Paulo (next to Ruins of St. Paul’s)
Opening hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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Built in 1888, and located behind the Ruin’s pf St Paul, this temple is dedicated to the worship of the deity Na Tcha. This small traditional Chinese temple stands close to the remains of the principal Jesuit cathedral of the region, presenting a dialectic of western and Chinese ideals, as one of the best examples of Macau’s multicultural identity and religious freedom.

22St. Anthony Church

Address: Santo António Square
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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First built of bamboo and wood before 1560, this is one of the oldest churches in Macau, also marking the site where the Jesuits set up their earliest headquarters in the city. The church was reconstructed in stone several times, while the present appearance and scale of the church dates back to 1930. Previously, members of the Portuguese community would hold wedding ceremonies there, so giving rise to the Chinese name of Fa Vong Tong (Church of Flowers).

23Protestant Cemetery

Address: Beside Casa Garden
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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Located close to the Casa Garden, the Protestant Cemetery provides a comprehensive record of the earliest Protestant community of Macau. There is a chapel that was built in 1821, which is now referred to as “the Morrison Chapel” in honour of Robert Morrison (1782-1834). George Chinnery (1774-1852) an important British China-trade artist is also buried at the site, alongside various other prominent figures of the time, including several officials from the East India Company, and Protestants from the United States and Britain.

24Casa Garden

Address: Beside Camões Square
Opening hours: Gallery: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public Holidays); Garden: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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This house was built in 1770 and was originally the residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant, Manuel Pereira. It was later rented to the British India Company. and was successively the place chosen to house visiting embassies from the Imperial Court and the head office of several governmental departments in Macau. Nowadays the property is the headquarters of the Oriental Foundation and host several temporary exhibitions and events.

25Guia Fortress

Opening hours: Fortress: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Chapel: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., no admission after 5:30 p.m. (no photographs allowed) Lighthouse: not open to the public

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As the highest point on the peninsula, Guia Fort affords panoramic views of the city and, when the air is clear, across to the islands and China. Guia Fortress is a 17th-century colonial military fort, chapel, and lighthouse complex. Standing in the highest point of Macau, the fort and chapel were constructed between 1622 and 1638, after an unsuccessful attempt by the Netherlands to capture colonial Portuguese Macau from Portugal.