St. Dominic Church
St. Dominic Church, locally known as the Sto. Domingo Church, is among the oldest yet the most breathtaking of all the worship houses in Macau. This yellow Baroque-inspired church with emerald framings is an easy standout amidst the busy Leal Senado plaza of the old city.
Three Spanish Dominican priests built the wooden church in 1587, and it was eventually reconstructed in 1828. Now, the St. Dominic Church flaunts its stone stature and sophisticated design inspired by bravura Spanish and Portuguese styles.
Be enthralled by the characteristic Jesuit architecture and majestic layout of the church, which elicits a calm atmosphere of sacrosanct solemnity. The mosaic porcelain flooring, the carved wooden roofing, and the timber veranda that borders the wall contribute to the creation of an ideal adoration ambience.
The church also features an image of the Madonna and Child at the center dais and some skillfully crafted ivory-chiseled figures of St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Caetano.
A-Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Macau. In fact, it was already existent even before Macau was established as a city. Some even say that the very name of Macau came from the Chinese term “A-Ma gau,” which means “the bay of A-Ma.”
Formerly known as the Barra Temple, the A-Ma Temple has been attracting worshippers and tourists to the complex sitting at the western slant of Barra Hill since the 15th century.
The complex is comprised of four major halls, namely, the Hongren Hall (the oldest among the four), the Kunlam Hall, the Zhansuo Hall, and the Zhengjue Hall. The compound also features other religious pavilions such as the Memorial Arch and the Gate Pavilion.
One thing that makes A-Ma Temple exceptional is that it is one of the few places in the world to provide a place of veneration for a number of distinct Chinese religious beliefs, including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, as well as other folk beliefs.
Aside from being a place for worship, A-Ma Temple also houses fragments of the rich Chinese culture and history. The shrine’s walls are artfully inscribed with calligraphy done by famous Chinese personalities from past Chinese dynasties.
Near the A-Ma Temple, at the Calcada de Barra, are the exotic-looking Moorish Barracks, which serve as the headquarters of the Macanese Maritime Administration.
Constructed in August 1874, this brick and stone Mediterranean-inspired building was originally built to provide lodgings for 200 Indian police reinforcements from Goa.
This neoclassical construction is an easy eyecatcher, with its elegant cream façade projecting from an elevated compact granite podium. The Moorish Barracks stuns with finely polished expansive porches lined with Moghul-style pointed arcs. Triple layers of ornament on the butter-colored walls perfectly complement the arcs and create a visual feast.
With its attractive frontage and exquisitely designed interior complementing its historic role, the Moorish Barracks was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
The experience of conquering the 338 meter-high Macau Tower, king of Macanese skyscrapers and member of the World Federation of Great Towers, is definitely not for the acrophobes but it is definitely something the adventurous soul would look forward to.
This world-famous tower located at Largo da Torre de Macau proves to be the best place for thrill-seeking souls craving for a unique Macau-style adventure as daring souls take the heart-thumping walk along the glass floor of the observation lounge. This floor gives you the illusion of floating more than a thousand feet above the ground below.
Macau Tower also offers the highest bungee jump in the world at an astonishing 223 meters.
For the less stout of heart, the Macau Tower offers a 360-degree view of the city from the observation deck at the topmost level. You don’t have to wait to get to the top to enjoy the view, though. Glass elevators enable tourists to get their eyeful right from the get-go.
Of course, apart from being a leading tourist attraction, the Macau Tower also plays a role in the country’s telecommunications and broadcasting industry.
Holy House of Mercy
Initiated in 1569 by Macau’s first ever Catholic bishop, Dorn Belchior Carneiro, the Holy House of Mercy (or Santa Casa da Misericordia) is recognized as the oldest charitable institution in the country.
To immortalize the contributions of this organization to the unprivileged communities of Macau, the institution eventually established a striking and sentimental commemorative museum.
Within this neoclassical building, you will find remnants of the long history of the House of Mercy and its highly esteemed founder. For one, it holds the unscathed skull of Dorn Belchior Carneiro himself, a 300-year-old painted whole body portrait of the same, and the golden cross that he took to his grave.
Several undamaged precious artifacts, such as East Asian and European earthenware, are also displayed in the museum.