Built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. In the beginning, the church was just a wooden structure. The brick building was first built in 1801-1803 and was renovated throughout the 19th century.
The church is located on the southern coastline of Macau overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighbourhood where the church is located used to be fairly wealthy, thus explaining the building’s scale and wealth of architectural treatment.
It is a neo-classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspirations. The interior of the church is richly decorated as well, with ceiling painted turquoise with white and gold beams, from which hang elegant chandeliers. The high alter contains a figure of St. Lawrence in gorgeous vestments. Above him hangs a crown held by a cherub and behind is a stained glass window with a dove of peace.
You may like to visit this church on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., to attend the Sunday mass. Not every church in Macau has the same atmosphere and spirit you find in St. Lawrence’s Church. People who live in another district will also come to St. Lawerence’s Church to attend the mass on Sundays, as they find this place is more special than the others.
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Finally, I’ve reached the last post of 2013… 😀
THE HISTORY OF MACAU GRAND PRIX
The Macau Grand Prix was originally conceived in 1954 as a treasure hunt around the streets of the city, but shortly after it was suggested that the hunt’s track could host a professional racing event for local motor enthusiasts. The race continued as an amateur race until 1966, when Belgian driver Mauro Bianchi entered the race in an Alpine A220 (chassis #1722). Alpine Renault had also sent engineer, Jean-Paul Castilleux, to assist Bianchi with technical aspect of the car. Bianchi’s victory and exposure led to more professional racing teams entering the Grand Prix in the following years.
The motorcycle race was introduced in 1967, and in that year the first fatal tragedy struck the race: double champion Dodjie Laurel was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed. This raised the alarm for more safety improvements for the race.
The first Guia race for touring cars was held in 1972. Macau’s Guia Race for touring cars is a particular race for this category, as very few races with these cars are held on street circuits. Since 2005 the race has officially become the final two rounds of FIA World Touring Car Championship.
In 1983, it was decided by the organisers that since Formula Pacific was becoming obsolete, the race would be held as a Formula Three event. Initially, they wanted to run a F2 race, but as they were unwilling to make any large circuit modifications, which included cutting down trees, the organisers settled for F3. This turned out to be a right decision, given the fact that since then it has raised the reputation of the event in the motorsport world by attracting the best young drivers from Europe and Japan to compete in the event. The first F3 race was won by a young Ayrton Senna. The race in 1990 was a memorable one, as Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen were involved in an incident when they were in positions 1 and 2 going into the final lap. At the main straight just after the Mandarin Oriental Bend, Häkkinen hit the back of Schumacher’s car and crashed out when he attempted to overtake him. Schumacher’s car was able to continue with its rear wing damaged and eventually won the race with the best aggregate time. Other notable winners include Formula One drivers David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato. Since the introduction of F3 races, the Macau GP has gradually become a stepping stone for many F3 drivers to higher class motor-racing competitions such as the GP2 series and Formula One.
Macau is a special event for motorcycle riders too. The Motorcycle Grand Prix has featured many famous riders such as Kevin Schwantz, Carl Fogarty, Ron Haslam and Michael Rutter.
Teddy Yip was one of the main forces behind the Macau Grand Prix back in ’70s and 80s, leading the Grand Prix to be one of the world’s most famous motor racing events. The Macau Grand Prix parties he hosted for many years at his home also became a central part of the social aspect of the Grand Prix.
Reference: Macau Grand Prix Tourism Board
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.
RUINS OF ST. PAUL
The church was built in 1602 adjoining the Jesuit College of St. Paul which was the first Western college in the Far East. The church was made of wood and it was brilliantly decorated and furnished. The facade of carved stone was built in 1620-1627 by Japanese Christian craftsmen, and it was built under the direction of Italian Jesuit Carlo Spinola.
Later, the Jesuits were expelled, and unfortunately, the college was used as an army barracks. In 1835, a fire destroyed the college and the body of the church, leaving only its very large facade and the front stairways. The surviving facade rises in 4 colonnaded tiers, and is covered with carvings and statues that illustrate the early days of the Catholic Church in Asia. There are statues of the Virgin and the Saints, symbols of the Garden of Eden and the crucifixion, and carvings of angels and the devil, a Chinese dragon and Japanese chrysanthemum, a Portuguese sailing ship, and inscriptions written in Chinese characters to warn people.
The facade seemed about to topple, but it was girded with steel, and at the back side of the ruins, a museum was built in 1995. There is a crypt that has the remains of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs, and there is a museum of sacred art with paintings, sculptures and liturgical objects.
The facade is 27 meters tall, 23.5 meters wide and 2.7 meters thick. The top floor is a triangle lintel under a cross; in the middle of the lintel is a copper dove. The dove is surrounded by the sun, moon, and stars. There is a statue of the baby Jesus Christ with the tools that were used to nail him to the cross. The major figures portrayed in the lintel are the Virgin Mary, the Holy Father, some Holy Saints, and Jesus Christ. The middle two floors reflect missionary endeavor.
This is the place where people in the past had lived their lives here.
And, this is now how the place looks like…
…in a few years this place will turn into a library…and this photo that I show you today will eventually be a memory…
I hope I will remember this post, and later to show you the future image of this place after its reconstruction. 😀
The Holy House of Mercy, or Santa Casa de Misericórdia, is the oldest social institution in Macau, with white-washed neoclassical structure that located in the Leal Senado Square. The building was founded in 1569 by the first Bishop of Macau, Dom Belchior Carneiro. The holy house was founded to do charitable work for the community, help the poor and sick people, especially the victims of leprosy. Also, it later served as an orphanage and refuge for widows of sailors lost at sea.
People found these words from a letter written by D. Belchior to the Jesuit General: “When I arrived in this port known as the Name of God, there were very few Portuguese houses here. Shortly after arriving, I opened a hospital, which admits both Christians and pagans. I also created a Lay Fraternity of the Holy House of Mercy to give succour to all the poor and miserable and needy…”
Most of the tourists think that the “Na Tcha” Temple located behind Ruins of St. Paul is the only temple of “Na Tcha” in Macau. In fact, there is another temple of “Na Tcha” which is situated at Calcada das Verdades, about 10 minutes of walk from Ruins of St. Paul (shown in the picture). The difference between both is that the former is located in tourist hotspot and the latter one is located off the tourist track and it has the rock in which Prince “Na Tcha” used to appear in apparition.
When you get in the temple of “Na Tcha” at Calcada das Verdades, first you may hear mantras play in a loop. Spiral scented candles hanging on the ceiling and the walls fill the atmosphere with peaceful vibes providing a tranquil and relaxing feeling to those who are around.
Location: Na Tcha Temple at Calcada das Verdades
Built in 17th century, to defend Macau against outside attacks. These original fortifications were replaced by new barracks in 19th century to help protect the city. Luckily, the barracks remain untouched. No attack was ever mounted from across the border. Today, the barracks are home to the local police, as well as home to some old cannons from days long gone.
Camera: Canon 450D
Location: San Francisco Garden
MACAU TUNG SIN TONG CHARITABLE SOCIETY
Macau Tung Sin Tong (同善堂) was the first Chinese charitable organization established in Macau in 1892. Since the year of establishment, the charitable organization has provided free medical cares and education for those in need and has saved a lot of people, including war refugees during WWII from dying hunger.
The words of the name of the organization, “Tung Sin Tong ”(同善堂), represent the following meanings:
同 – together; be the same as
善 – kindness; goodness
堂 – hall; big room
As I entered the hall of Tung Sin Tong a feeling of gratefulness ran through my veins when I saw what looked like over a hundred portraits of past contributors hung upon the wall. Those past contributors did a lot of goodness for others. Their act of kindness and contributions did make a difference.
This picture was taken at the headquarter of Tung Sin Tong, which was the place where people were taking care of in the past. At the present, Tung Sin Ton continues to provide free medical care, education and baby- sitting service, as well as promoting charitable activities to the public.
I wish the spirit of this kindness remains forever…
Camera: Iphone 4S
Location: Tung Sin Tong
The word “福” can be translated as “good fortune”, and the word “緣” can be translated as “fate”, “circle – no beginning no end”. They are pronounced as “Fok Yun” (福緣), and these two characters “福緣” is the name of this beautiful tortoise you see on the picture, whose age with more than 100 years old.
Last year in October, Fok Yun was found by a couple in the market, hanged upside down inside a fishnet, waiting to meet his fate. The lovely couple, instead of leaving the distressing scene alone, compassion was aroused, they stopped to free the big tortoise.
From that moment, the big tortoise’s destiny has been rewritten.
The lovely couple bought the tortoise. Then, with help from friends, a group of kind-hearted people, help applied licenses, and finally, took the big tortoise to Macau. Later, they named the tortoise as “Fok Yun” (福緣). Also, they found him a peaceful place to live.
There is a saying, “Once a destiny has been decided it cannot be changed.”
I’m wondering if what it looked like to be a turning point of the fate of the tortoise was also a part of the destiny. Did the tortoise escape from his destiny? Or, was the story of the escape from the market was merely a part of his destiny? I don’t know, and I guess that the answer may not be an absolute answer. It may be something very different from what I could think of.
Anyway, I don’t think it matters now, what most important is that Fok Yun, the tortoise, is now enjoying his life, peacefully, in a peaceful temple in Taipa.
Life is precious. Even a life of a small animal or an insect deserves the right to live.
We, who can save, please save.
We, who can help, please help.
Hope the world fills with joy, love and compassion.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D
Location: Pou Tai Temple, Taipa
This is the statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of mercy, located on a manmade island off the city, near the Cultural Center of Macau. The statue is clad in bronze. It weighs 50 tons. The figure measures 20m (65ft) in height, and the lotus stand measures 7m (23ft) tall.
Although this statue represents Guan Yin, the Goddess of mercy, but when you take a closer look at it, it looks like Virgin Mary as well. This reminds me of a dream of mine in few days ago, in which I saw a figure who was dressed in a blue and white robe with a head piece, praying for the souls in the hell, with one hand in the praying gesture, standing on a lotus flower. That figure, at the same time, represents Guan Yin and also Virgin Mary.
I hope this spirit of unity of different cultures will remain and more of this kind of work will be seeing in other places as well. Let our world to be unified as one. 😀
Camera: Canon EOS 450D
Location: Statue of Guan Yin
A SMALL CITY
I was born and raised in this small city. The total land area of it is approximately 29.7 km2, included the two islands of Taipa and Coloane. Its little size would sometimes make me to think it is a town, rather than a city.
If I were asked, what is special about this place, I would say it is a place blessed by Angels and God, as well as a place to find the traditional Chinese culture while at the same time to find Portuguese buildings built in the earliest 15th century. I said it is a place blessed by Angels and God, because it was said by folks that Our Lady of Fatima appeared once on this land.
Also, this city is very religious. Many churches, chapels, temples and other religious communities could be found in here, and the distance between many of them is only within 2 minutes of walk. The various religious communities maintain peaceful relationship with one another. A temple located right behind a church, and a Christian community placed next to a temple. People are free to believe their own religion, and some of them are even followers of more than one single religion. The freedom of belief and respect given to each other make this possible to happen.
To me, this symbolizes harmony and great acceptance of one another. I believe that every different kind of religion in this world is come from the same source, or same “God”. It is because we have different culture, speak different language, and have different background and history, make us to have various kind of religion to be born for different culture and society. I believe the truth is always beyond what we seem, and it is beyond the grasp of our limited human consciousness.
I hope everyone have a great New Year.
I wish you all have a prosperous and joyful year ahead and best of luck with everything. 😀
Camera: Canon EOS 450D
Location: Atop the Hill on Estrada de Sete Tanques, Taipa