Macau's cathedral during Chinese New Year

The historical center of Macau

Macau’s historical center is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s basically very Portuguese. The ruins in the picture are of a church that was dedicated to Mary, only the southern facade stands and gives it quite a fantasy-like look. Interestingly, the facade was decorated by Japanese Christians in exile during the 1600s.

A walk along Macau’s city center is quite a cultural experience with rows upon rows Chinese shops with the odd pastelaria (Portuguese style pastry shop/cafe) thrown in. The cafes do some great business as pastries seem to be a part of the local culture in Macau!

The streets are narrow and windy and go up and down, pretty much like Lisbon. It’s an interesting experience to be in a place that looks Portuguese but feels totally Chinese!

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  • Sam Says

    It is indeed a strange place, isn’t it? When I visited, I had never been to Portgual (I have now!) and I found it to be a real mix of Mediterranean and Chinese, which is an odd combination. A church that wouldn’t be out of place in Marseille here, a square that could be from somewhere in Sicily there, all filled with Chinese people, food, smells and sounds. Fascinating!

    • Zara Says

      Yes, Macao is indeed fascinating!
      As someone from Portugal I felt so at home at so out of place at the same time – but loved it there and would actually like to go back with a little more time in the future. Maybe next time I’ll skip the casinos and dedicate more time to the historical centre!! ;)

  • Matias Says

    The church was not dedicated to St. Paul, but to Mary, mother of God. It is now known as the St. Paul Ruins because there was the St. Paul College nearby, the first Western-style de-facto university in China.

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