Dubbed the 'Las Vegas of the East', Macau (or spelled as 'Macao' in China) is a bright city that offers so much to their visitors apart form their exorbitant casinos. The East Asian city is known as the Special Administrative region of China (SAR) and is rich for its heritage and history as a city-state between the east and west of China.
Macau Peninsula holds the title of the Unesco World Heritage–crowned old city centre, with buildings that are over 300 years old, built on Portuguese tiles from when the Portuguese colony touched the Macau ports almost over a millennium.
One can never get bored while in the peninsular city-state, so here are a few activities to keep you busy if you don't desire to pay a visit to Macau's grand casinos.
1. Visit the ruins of the Church of St. Paul
The most treasured icon in Macau, the towering facade and stairway of the Church of St. Paul are all that remain of this early 17th-century Jesuit church.
Its statues, portals and engravings effectively make up a ‘sermon in stone’ and a Biblia pauperum (Bible of the poor), the church was one of the greatest monuments to Christianity in Asia, intended to help the illiterate understand the Passion of Christ and the lives of the saints.
The church was designed by an Italian Jesuit and completed by early Japanese Christian exiles and Chinese craftsmen in 1602. It was abandoned after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1762 and a military battalion was stationed here.
2. Casa Garden
UNESCO-listed Casa Garden is one of the oldest buildings in Macau and was built in 1770.
It was first the residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant who then rented it to the British East India Company when it was based in Macau in the early 19th century and today houses the Oriental Foundation which organises regular exhibitions. Check out their beautiful gardens.
3. Treasure of Sacred Art Museum
Northeast of Largo do Senado, the 17th-century baroque Church of St Dominic contains the Treasure of Sacred Art, an Aladdin’s cave of ecclesiastical art and liturgical objects exhibited on three floors.
The majority of the items were made in the 19th- or early 20th-century in Macau or Portugal. You'll see doll-like statues of wood or ivory, precious rosary beads, and poly-chrome wood carvings of heads and limbs of saints stuffed in a wooden chest.
4. Macau Tower
Standing tall at 338 metres, Macau Tower looms southeast of Avenida da República, located in the small part of Sé in Macau.
Visitors can stay put on the observation decks on the 58th and 61st floors, or challenge yourself to some gravity-defying sport: the tower hosts a climbing wall, a bungee platform (said to be the highest commercial bungee jump in the world), a sky walk around the rim of the tower and more.IOL