Week 40 – Little Story About Macau (10/12)
THE LIGHTHOUSE AND CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF SNOW
This is the lighthouse located at the Guia Fortress, which is the oldest lighthouse on the coast of China, built in 1864 and it was completed in 1865, and its geographical coordinates marks Macau’s geographical location in the World’s atlas.
Originally, the light beam of the lighthouse was lit by paraffin, operated through a wooden wheel and a rope to make the lantern rotate. Carlos Vicente da Rocha, a Macau-born Portuguese, designed the light. In 1874, the lighthouse was damaged by a typhoon and stopped operating for over 30 years. After long repair works including the installation of mirror reflectors, the lighthouse went into operation again on 29th June 1910 and it has been in smooth operation ever since.
Next to the lighthouse, you can see a chapel. This chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Snow (Portuguese name: Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guia; Chinese name: 聖母雪地殿教堂). It was built around 1622 inside the Guia Fortress next to the lighthouse.
During restoration and maintenance work in 1996, frescoes were discovered inside the chapel. The frescoes are from distinct periods, the oldest phase dating back around 300 years. Some paintings dates back to 1622. Murals on the ceilings and walls are show both Oriental and Occidental symbols.
Apparently local Chinese artists painted the Guia Chapel Macau. The frescoes feature biblical themes intertwined with typical Chinese representations of lions, clouds and other motifs. The frescoes are perfect examples of East and West cultural exchange in Macau.