A FEAST FOR THE EYES
For a side of culture to complement your Macanese food tour, venture beyond the ruins of St. Paul’s to visit these must-see sights. Two are among the 20 monuments and urban squares included in Macao’s UNESCO-listed historic center.
Macao’s development is deeply connected to the ocean, and visitors interested in diving into that history should explore the Maritime Museum on the cobbled Square of the Barra Pagoda. Directly opposite the 15thcentury A-Ma Temple, the museum’s architecture recalls a sailing ship anchored in the calm waters of the Inner Harbour. Inside, a highlight is the interactive displays on the maritime history of both China and Portugal, following the exploits of Ming Dynasty admiral Cheng Ho and the Portuguese voyages of discovery throughout the 15th and 16th centuries.
Accessible on foot or via the world’s shortest cable car ride, this historic fortress was built between 1622 and 1638 on the lush slopes of Guia Hill, which marks the highest point on Macao peninsula. Within its walled perimeter stands the picturesque Guia Lighthouse, whose origins in 1865 make it the rst modern lighthouse on the China coast. Next door, you’ll nd the intimate, 1 th-century Chapel of Our Lady of Guia. Look out for the unique frescoes fusing Western and Chinese themes—these were only discovered during routine conservation work in 1998.
ST. LAWRENCE’S CHURCH
First constructed from wood in the 1560s by the Jesuits, St. Lawrence’s (São Lourenço in Portuguese) is one of the three oldest churches in Macao. Its current stone-built appearance dates from 1846, and the sanctuary is largely a neoclassical structure, though with subtle Baroque decorations. Because of its position on higher ground overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return. For this reason the church was given the Chinese name Feng Shun Tang, or “Hall of the Soothing Winds.”