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Macau Peninsula

Macau Peninsula

story by: Inspire Hong Kong & China

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With such an array of beautifully spruced up colonial buildings, churches, museums, gardens and historic cemeteries, little wonder Macau was rewarded UNESCO World Heritage listing. The Ruins of St Paul’s church is a familiar landmark on the peninsula, along with the patterned mosaic stone pavement of Senado Square, the Guia Fortress and Lighthouse and the most famous and picturesque temple in Macau – the A-Ma Temple on the waterfront of the Inner Harbour.

Senado Square is the historic heart of the city and paved with wave-patterned mosaic which extends to the Ruins of St Paul’s, the most famous landmark in Macau. After a fire in 1835, all that remains of this early 17th century Jesuit church is the magnificent Italianate stone façade and the grand staircase. Adjacent is the Monte Fort from the same period, its platform and foundations now occupied by the Museum of Macau and providing a breathtaking panorama of the city. Other sites include the building of the Provisional Municipal Council of Macau, regarded as one of the finest examples of neo-classical Portuguese architecture, and the baroque church of Sao Domingas.

The 17th century Guia Fort, its chapel and lighthouse - the first built on the China coast - is situated on Guia Hill, the highest point of the city and one which can be ascended by cable car. Nearby is the Macau Grand Prix Museum containing winning cars and motorcycles from past races, along with memorabilia of top drivers such as the late Ayrton Senna. And for quieter reflection, there is the fascinating Wine Museum, telling the story of viniculture and the introduction of wine into Asia by the Portuguese.

The old stone Barrier Gate at the northern end of the peninsula marked the border with China and located alongside it is the beautiful Sun Yat-Sen Park, created in homage to the founder of the Chinese Republic. The Taoist Lin Fong Temple was once used as an inn for visiting mandarins and is decorated with elaborate friezes, while behind is Mong Ha Hill where stands the last fort built in Macau, its massive walls and old cannons still looking north to mainland China. The Kun Iam Temple, actually a complex including prayer halls and funeral parlours, was founded in the 15th century and is dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy whose 20 metre-high gilded bronze statue stands at the edge of the Outer Harbour. Behind the temple is an extensive garden where the first US-Chinese treaty was signed in 1844.

The impressive Maritime Museum is situated on the site where Portuguese traders originally made landfall in Macau and has countless exhibits relating to the country’s long relationship with the sea. The A-Ma Temple, the most famous and picturesque temple in Macau, rises from the Inner Harbour waterfront as four levels of pavilions linked by winding paths and moon-gates.

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