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English>>Life & Culture

Odds on, Macau's got plenty to offer (2)

By Yang Di (Shanghai Daily)

14:40, October 15, 2012

Heritage and culture

The Portuguese may be gone but they are not forgotten. They left their mark in architecture, culture, language, food and wine, and the best way to discover the city's Sino-European cultural identity is to explore the historic center of Macau by foot. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes to climb up and down the winding cobblestone streets.

The historic center is a collection of more than 20 sites that represent the architectural legacy of the city's cultural heritage. In 2005, this area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The walk starts at Macau's urban center, Senado Square, a paved area enclosed by the General Post Office, the Leal Senado and St Dominic's Church.

Follow the street signs to the ruins of St Paul's, the city's most famous sight, and a perennial favorite on postcards.

Built between 1582 and 1602, St Paul's Cathedral was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia at the time but was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835. The blaze also destroyed the adjacent St Paul's College, the first Western-style university in the Far East. Don't forget to climb to the back of St Paul's and walk along the remains of the city's 16th century defensive wall. To get away from the crowds at St Paul's and enjoy a tranquil moment, duck into Na Tcha Temple, a tiny gray and red temple built in 1888.

Walk back and reach Lou Kau Mansion, sitting pretty in a narrow lane off Senado Square. Built in 1889, this was the home of Lou Kau, a prominent Chinese merchant who owned several imposing properties in the city. The Chinese residence is a hidden jewel in the center of the old "Christian City," with architectural characteristics of a typical xiguan Chinese residence - an architecture style of southern China - its decorative motifs integrating Western influences.

A pleasant walking tour of the historic area doesn't mean you need restrict yourself to heritage sites. Step off the beaten track and you soon find yourself lost in quaint little lanes and exploring something unexpected. There are many corners, hidden lanes and lush gardens to check out while soaking up the authentic flavor of this multifaceted city. Wander far enough and you'll eventually find your way to the famous A-Ma Taoist Temple on the southwest tip of the Macau peninsula.

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