In the beautiful Macau of the Portuguese

A small peninsula on the border of China which in fact has been chinese for only a few years. Macau is a fascinating place with a thousand stories where ponds with bamboo and lotus flowers can introduce you to the amazing oriental gardens (Garden Loo Lim Ioc) while architectures of the late Renaissance and Baroque fully refer to an unexpectedly strong European culture mindful of Portuguese rule which lasted here for centuries leaving considerable evidence of religious architecture and civil engineering.

Macau China

Macau China

Macau Airport

Macau Airport

In Macau the Portuguese arrived in 1557 making the place one focal point for their trade with the East. The peninsula still preserves this aspect of the port city although its flourishing activities have been somewhat reduced with the emergence of Hong Kong in the eighteenth century which brought it to the fore on the international scene after the English conquest. A strong influence to the culture of the place were the Jesuits, who went so far as making Macau the center of evangelization missions organized throughout southern Asia.

Macau Gate

Macau Gate

Macau Square

Macau Square

Not coincidentally there are also referrences to the Roman Church of Jesus, the parent structure of the whole order and the 22 churches that are still present in the historical center built by the monks inspired by the lively Italian art of the Baroque. Looking at the Jesus Complex we can tell it was designed by the architect Carlo Spinola just like the Church of St. Paul which also housed a large library and of course the monastery. However from the entire complex we retain only the facade and the impressive entrance staircase. The rest was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1835.

Macau Structures

Macau Structures

The architects were always Jesuits who also built the amazing Fortoleza do Monte walls erected to protect the peninsula, to defend it from the constant attacks of pirates but also and especially from the Dutch and English fleets which immediately tried to snatch from the King of Portugal the domain of these lands. The fortress covers eighty thousand square kilometers and is surrounded by 9 meter high and 4 meters wide walls. For centuries its battlements and cannons fired in defense with guns scattered along the walls. You can still see them in a picturesque walk to visit during the sunset.

Macau Cannon on the Walls

Macau Cannon on the Walls

At the end of a day exploring the history of the place and its artistic and natural beauty it would be really worth it to try the local cuisine or innovated by the great chefs present in Macau. The best restaurant is the Robuchon au Dome. The Miele Guide has indicated it as the best in all of Asia, even better than the Waku Ghin of Singapore renowned for its refined cuisine. Of course the restaurant is not for everyone. The cost of 500 euro set menu might be too much but do not despair because there are so many cozy restaurants ready to welcome you for a lot less.

Macau Cousine

Macau Cousine

Macau photos: nanningbear, photo by ila gereb, cardinals17, Ipatigayon, Divya B, cortezpinto1.

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Categories: What to See

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