Explore East and West on foot

CHARMING: The 1.6km "A Tour of East Meets West" walking trail starts at Senado Square (above). A five-minute walk takes one to St Augustine's Square, one of the eight squares at the Historic Centre of Macau. The square is paved with Portuguese gravel in the pattern of waves, and lined with green antique street lights.


    May 21, 2014

    Explore East and West on foot

    MACAU boasts the best of two worlds, thanks to its unique positioning as a Chinese city which was a former Portuguese colony.

    Visitors eager to experience Macau in a different way and get a taste of its rich culture and heritage can now do so in a simple, yet fun, way via the "A Tour of East Meets West" walking trail.

    The trail, spanning some 1.6km, starts from Senado Square, an urban centre within the Historic Centre of Macau - a Unesco World Heritage Site. From there, take a five-minute walk to St Augustine's Square.

    St Augustine's Square is one of the eight squares at the Historic Centre of Macau. The square is paved with Portuguese gravel in the pattern of waves, and lined with green antique street lights.

    To the left of the square is St Augustine's Church, which was built by Augustine priests in 1591.

    The church is dedicated to the statue of Jesus on the Cross, and a procession is held every year when pilgrims carrying statues of Christ on the cross parade through the city.

    In front of the square, one can also check out Dom Pedro V Theatre, the earliest European theatre in China. It was built in 1860 and is still used for performances today.

    The next attraction - St Lawrence's Church - is a short walk away. Built in the 16th century, it is one of the three oldest churches in Macau.

    Overlooking the sea, the church is also called the Hall of Soothing Winds because families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their loved ones' return.

    Keep walking, and you will arrive at St Joseph's Seminary and Church. Established in 1728, this church is laid out in a Latin cross, with a central dome. At one of the altars lies a piece of bone from the arm of St Francis Xavier, a Roman Catholic missionary.

    After taking in Macau's Western heritage, it is time to get a taste of its Eastern offerings.

    A four-minute walk from St Joseph's Seminary and Church lies the Mandarin's House, the traditional Chinese residential home of prominent Chinese literary figure Zheng Guanying. It consists of several courtyard houses, so you can take your time to explore.

    Near the Mandarin's House is Lilau Square. The ground water of Lilau used to be the main source of natural spring water in Macau. In fact, the Portuguese had a popular phrase: "One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macau."

    After a visit to Lilau, walk along the streets to A-Ma Temple, which was built even before Macau came into being and is more than 500 years old. There are various pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities.

    The final pit stop would be the Macau Maritime Museum. In the surrounding area, one can find traditional maritime businesses - people making anchors, repairing fishing lines or selling ships' lamps.

    It takes an estimated 90 minutes to complete the walking trail, if you stay in each spot for not more than 10 minutes.

    But since it is free and easy, feel free to walk at a leisurely pace, spend a longer time at each attraction, and even explore the surrounding streets and attractions.

    Who knows just what you may find in this heritage treasure trove?