Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 9, Macau, China


Hope you are enjoying our trip thus far.....

Our next destination, Macau, where we will meet my sweet dear friend Jasi.... who is our tour guide for this leg of the journey....lets go......

Jasi told us that the Historic Centre of Macau is the product of cultural exchange between East and West spanning over 400 years, and is currently the oldest, the most complete and consolidated array of European architectural legacy standing intact on Chinese territory today........and desevedly is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our Lady of Penha Church Macau

Built on top Colina da Penha or Penha Hill, also known as Bishop Hill because of the Bishop Residence, is a Chapel of Our Lady of Penha which was first built in 1622. The first chapel was erected by the crew and passengers of a ship which had a narrow escape from the Dutch. Later the chapel served as shrine for sailors embarking on often hazardous voyages. The chapel today dates back to 1837 when it was completely rebuilt along with the Bishop's Palace.The bell tower of the Church is very distinctive and can be seen anywhere from the harbor.

Historic Archives

Contains letters, books and manuscripts pertaining to Portugal's exploration and Macau's relations with Europe, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia from a wide variety of governmental, civic, ecclesiastic and private sources. The most valuable have been put on microfilm, including 7500 items dating from 1587 to 1786. The archives are houses in one of the mansions in colonial style in Avenida de Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida restored by the Macau Government which won the Pacific Area Travel Association's Heritage Award, in 1982.

Ruins of St. Paul's

Only a magnificent stone façade and grand staircase remain of the iconic Church of St. Paul's. The church was built in 1602. Sadly in 1835, a fire razed the church, leaving only the dramatic façade standing in four colonnaded tiers, complete with carvings and statues. The unique architecture of St Paul's Church recalls the style of the European Renaissance and Asian architecture in an intoxicating mix of Chinese and Western elements. Today, many music performances are held at the Ruins of St. Paul's, which, with its stairs and dramatic setting, lends itself as a natural stage. Within the precincts of Ruins of St. Paul's lies the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt. The Museum exhibits religious paintings, statues and sacred objects from Churches in Macau while in the crypt adjacent to the Museum the visitor can observe the relics of martyrs from Japan and Vietnam.

Guia Fortress (including Guia Chapel and Lighthouse)

The Guia Fortress - together with the Guia Lighthouse and Guia Chapel - is one of the listed sites of the Historic Centre of Macau. The Lighthouse has stood on the peak of Guia Hill for over 140 years and is the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast and the oldest in the Far East. A lantern is installed on top of the circular observation platform, and the light transmitter is reached by a flight of spiral stairs inside. While access is not usually allowed to the tower, the Macau Port Authority will open it to the public on May 20 & 21. From this viewpoint, the whole of the Peninsula and the Historic Centre of Macau can be seen.The Guia Chapel was originally established by nuns who resided at the site before establishing the Convent of St. Clare. Frescoes were uncovered inside the Chapel during routine conservation work, depicting representations of both Western and Chinese themes and motifs of religious and mythological inspiration that are a perfect example of Macau's multicultural society. Guia Fortress, along with the chapel and lighthouse are symbols of Macau's maritime, military and missionary past.

"Leal Senado" Building

The "Leal Senado" Building - regarded as the most outstanding example of Portuguese architecture in the territory - is located in the heart of Macau, just opposite the UNESCO World Heritage - listed Senado Square, and serves as a municipal chamber today. A gallery occupies the ground floor and has hosted numerous exhibitions since opening in 1985, including the major Collective Exhibition of Macau Artists every December. The first floor public library has amassed a valuable literary collection spanning the 17th Century to the 1950s, including the "A Abelha da China" newspaper, which, established in 1822, was the first Macau paper and the first foreign language paper to appear in China.

Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre

Soaring 338 metres above the city, the Macau Tower is the 10th highest freestanding tower in the world and the 8th tallest in Asia. It stands taller than Auckland's Sky Tower, Paris' Eiffel and Sydney's AMP Tower. The Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre (MTCEC) fronts onto the Pearl River and the Nam Van Lake development. MTCEC is just 5 minutes from the Macau Ferry Terminal and 15 minutes away from the border crossing to Zhuhai, China and the Macau International Airport

Jasi also told us that Macau is a gambling haven, but we decided not to visit a casino- we will save our money for Monte Carlo!

We ended off the day by the Fountain Square ..........which has a very "European" feel to it............

Tomorrow we will be going to..........well, you will have to just wait and see......cheerio

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