Largo do Lilau (Lilau Square), an old quarter, is part of the Historic Center of Macau, inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, rows of Portuguese style houses in pastel colors give the place an old world feel.
I was invited by the Macau Government Tourism Office-Philippines (MGTO) together with other travel writers and bloggers for a familiarization tour to this interesting place last May and it was a beautiful experience with its cuisine, glitz and old world charm. Pretty old houses. That’s what came to mind when I gazed out the coaster’s window we were riding in, the first time I saw these interesting structures. Solid, quadrilateral buildings painted in bright and light colors with wooden slatted windows framed in white. And they were just gorgeous to look at.
The area is significant as it was where the first Portuguese settlement was established. It is also where the Mandarin House, another notable structure, at Travessa de Antonio de Silva is found. But what really attracts me are the beautiful residential houses surrounding Lilau as well as those lining the quite streets.
It was noon and the area was a bit deserted except for the occasional motor riding passersby and some wandering tourists admiring the place. At first, you would think that you’re in some western country’s old quarter, quite and unassuming with architecture that harks back to a hundred years. Some have tiled roofs while others have inscriptions at the doortop.
But then, walking close to these houses, investigating the architectural details and scant decor, with one’s eyes looking at clearly European designs and suddenly, a rather incongruous object come into view. A red plank with chinese inscriptions by the door. At the pavement, another one with lighted joss stick is present.
This is Macau. Where a wonderful fusion of cultures and identities blend well. Other sites in the UNESCO World Heritage list includes includes such places as the Leal Senado, Mater Dei, Fortaleza da Guia, and A-ma Temple.