By Jonathan Evans
Photography: Louis Li
After a 54-day global poll, conducted online by the Macau government’s Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture in collaboration with other official local bodies, the results of the search for Macau’s New Eight Scenic Spots have been announced by the Chinese Cultural Exchange Association.
The survey was undertaken in order to highlight the people’s choice of areas in the SAR that deserved special recognition, 20 years after Macau came under Chinese rule. These milestones, highlighting Macau’s development and progress, are to be promoted as exemplary attractions in order to attract awareness and stimulate tourism. After more than 30,000 valid responses were received, both from residents and non-residents of Macau, the eight locales that came out top covered areas all across the territory, and attractions that are steeped in tradition as well as those that are much newer.
Photography: Breathtaking views of Penha Hill
Photography: Rua da Felicidade
On peninsular Macau, among the older awardees, are Penha Hill and Rua da Felicidade. Considered one of the most tranquil and overlooked areas in the territory, Penha Hill towers above the colonial villas of Avenida da Republica, offering wonderful views over the city centre. It’s best known for the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, a religious site at its apex that was reputedly a place of pilgrimage for Portuguese survivors of a Dutch seafaring dispute in the 17th century. A somewhat exclusive enclave, the hill’s history dates back five centuries, and it’s known as a favourite haunt of politicians, magnates, dignitaries and celebrities. Rua da Felicidade, nearer to the centre, stands as one of Macau’s best examples of heritage conservation. While “Happiness Street” was once a bohemian retreat for gamblers, opium smokers and brothel patrons, it’s now a respectable home to businesses from across Asia, yet retains its quintessentially Chinese atmosphere with buildings such as SanVa Hospedaria and Fat Siu Lau standing among the two-storey, grey-brick houses fronted by scarlet shutters and doors.
Photography: (top) Senado Square, (bottom) Travessa da Paixao
The peninsula is further represented by Senado Square, the territory’s principal hub for historical architecture, as well as its best-known tourist centre; and Travessa da Paixao, which stands just alongside the Ruins of St Paul’s. This picturesque lane attracts fewer tourists than its neighbouring attraction, making it far more tranquil – and thus bringing out the “passion” of courting couples implied in its Portuguese name. On both sides of this romantic, cobblestoned pedestrian street, shuttered houses are painted pink and yellow, while the central walkway holds flower arrangements below European-style street lamps.
Photography: Long Chao Kok
Down in Coloane, two noteworthy areas received recognition from Eight Scenic Spots voters. Long Chao Kok is a nature trail stretching along the coast of south-eastern Coloane island, divided into the Rockview Path, Seaview Path and Red Leaves Path, which offers views of the mountains and the sea in close proximity. The colourful rock formations and marine vistas along the way make for a beautiful family-friendly experience amid the elements – a fact recognized by survey responders, who voted it as one of only two rural sites on the list. Around the coast, in the south-west, Coloane Fishing Village also received the approval of voters as a former industrial hub that’s retained much of its old-time charm. Once a bustling port packed with boats, the village now presents a much more serene outlook, with its winding alleyways, small squares and old temples, and the Chapel of St Francis Xavier as its stunning centrepiece.
Photography: (top) Coloane Fishing Village, (bottom) Chapel of St Francis Xavier
Rounding off the list are a duo of far more recent attractions: Two Lakes and One Tower (Nam Van and Sai Van lakes, and Macau Tower), and the just-opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. The two artificial lakes were previously part of Praia Grande Bay, but the construction of the causeway running through the bay, Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, led to heightened development around the area – most notably Macau Tower, which has dominated the skyline since 2001 and is an obligatory photo-taking spot for visitors. The HZMB is a bold symbol of Chinese ambition in the modern era: the longest sea crossing on the planet, at 55 kilometres in length, it’s the key structure in China’s plan to advance the economy of the Pearl River Delta region.
Photography: Two Lakes and One Tower
A series of promotional activities are taking place to complement the results of the Eight Scenic Spots contest. Special commemorative stamps are being designed and distributed by the Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau, alongside other promotional products, and a photography competition will kick off in May. There will also be a lucky draw, with a total prize fund of MOP200,000, for voters whose choices aligned identically, or almost identically, with the overall result.
Photography: (Shuttle Stock) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge
Further information available at the official website www.new8spots.org.mo; search for @new8spotsmo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Line; 澳門新八景 on Sina Weibo.
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