Eastern and Western cultures have co-existed in Macao for over 400 years. A wide variety of cultural traditions, languages, values, religious beliefs, and customs have all existed side by side and influenced one another. Out of this melting pot, a regional culture unique to Macao has gradually developed into its present richness. Macao’s culture is thus a diverse mixture, with traditional Chinese culture at its heart, assimilating Western, particularly Portuguese, cultural influences in perfect harmony.
Following its policy of promoting Chinese culture whilst preserving the unique pluralistic cultural heritage of Macao, the Government hosts various cultural and artistic activities, inviting art troupes from Mainland China and overseas, as well as Macao, to perform. These have created opportunities for audiences to learn more about the history, society, and culture of different regions as well as enhancing cultural exchange and the quality of cultural life of Macao’s residents.
In addition, the Government has granted subsidies to aid non-governmental organisations and cultural workers in organising different forms of cultural activities and art creation to enrich the cultural life of Macao residents.
Cultural heritage embraces cultural resources of great value and significance to Macao. Law No. 11/2013 - Cultural Heritage Protection Law clearly lays down relevant provisions regarding the protection of classified immovable and movable assets, intangible cultural heritage, archaeological heritage, ancient and famous trees.
The Historic Centre of Macao is a living representation of the city’s historic settlement, encompassing architectural legacies interwoven in the midst of the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and piazzas, providing the linkage for a succession of 22 immovable assets and eight piazzas. The Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China.
Cultural and Arts Events
The Fringe brings all kinds of artistic and creative works to the city, breaking the barriers of the traditional performance venues. Adopting the concept “All around the city, our stages, our patrons, our artists”, the Fringe not only encourages the participation of artists and producers but also invites the general public to participate in it as venue provider.
The Macao Arts Festival is scheduled to take place in early Summer each year featuring numerous captivating performances by renowned art groups and artists from Macao and abroad. The Festival also provides a platform for outstanding local art works.
“HUSH!!Full Music” Beach Concert invites artists and bands from Macau and Asia to offer different kinds of music, and it the most anticipated music event in Macau, as well as a major Macau cultural brand.
In order to fully comply with strengthening Macao’s role as a bridge between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and highlight the charm of a multicultural city, using Macao as a platform to promote regular cultural exchange between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. “Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries” is first launched in, inviting elite artists from Macao, China and Portuguese-speaking countries to show their aura and charm, aiming to establish new platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries for cultural and artistic exchanges that will meet the needs of the new era.
The Macao International Music Festival is an important cultural event organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the first edition of which was held in 1987 and has since developed into a month-long event held in October each year. In organising this event, it hopes to introduce outstanding musical works from different parts of the world to Macao in order to enhance the cultural attainment of Macao residents and attract more tourists thereby building Macao into a ‘cultural city.’
It features a variety of programmes, from classical opera, symphony, chamber music, vocal music, Chinese music, jazz and Latin American music to avant-garde music, providing Macao residents and tourists with a diversity of quality music programmes.
The Macao International Parade is one of the annual major events of Macao cultural brand. Created in 2011, the Parade is held in December each year to mark the anniversary of Macao’s Handover to China. Every year, foreign performing groups as well as talented local artists are invited to be creative participants. They lead residents and tourists on an adventure through Macao’s streets and alleyways and bring songs and dances to the city’s historical quarters. The Parade, which highlights Macao’s unique cultural features and the city’s multicultural atmosphere.
Theatre / Exhibition
The Navy Yard No.1 - Contemporary Art Center (formerly known as D. Carlos I dock mechanical room) is situated in Zona da Barra. It was the dock mechanical room of Government in the past when it was used for building and reconditioning ships. The Navy Yard No.1 held a historical significance in Macao’s history.
The Navy Yard No.1 will invite different excellent artists from various regions to exhibit their works; in addition, cooperating with other arts organizations to hold some experimental performance art programs to help promoting the local arts and culture.
Built in 1860, the Dom Pedro V Theatre was the first Western-style theatre built in China. It was an important venue for the gatherings of Portuguese in Macao and houses a vestibule and a performance hall, with a capacity of 275 seats arranged in curved rows in the shape of a shell. Having operated for more than 150 years, it remains a popular performance venue in Macao.
The Macao Cultural Centre comprises the Auditoria Building, the Macao Museum of Art Building, Macao Cultural Centre Square and the Handover Gifts Museum of Macao. The Auditoria Building contains two performance venues - one a 1,076-seat multipurpose complex theatre, while the other is a 389-seat mini-theatre. The Macao Cultural Center’s several venues provide quality programmes, such as performances, conferences, exhibitions, and is actively promoting all kinds of artistic and cultural activities, enhancing the artistic atmosphere of Macao.
The Tap Seac Gallery is one of the base of visual arts exhibitions and arts education in Macao and often used by the Cultural Affairs Bureau to organise visual art exhibitions and various cultural activities, with exhibition area of 400 square metre.
Divided into two blocks, this two-storey Portuguese-style building was originally a typical residence of one of Macao’s elite families.
The ground floor is the current Tap Seac Gallery. The front part forms the main exhibition area, while the rear is ideal for holding exhibitions, seminars and lectures. The gallery, Jao Tsung-I Academy and its peripheral buildings were all constructed during the same period, together forming a unique cluster of historic monuments, is one of Macao’s designated heritage sites.
The gallery located on the flank of the lobby, formerly the office building and was reconstructed as a gallery for traditional and contemporary art exhibitions are regularly held since 1985. The “Leal Senado” Building was Macao’s original municipal chamber and the most signature building in the area. The building is neoclassical in design and has retained all the master walls and primary layout, including the courtyard garden in the back, from the latest rebuilding.
The Macao Museum was opened on 18th April 1998 and is situated on the Mount Fortress heritage site, which is part of the Historic Centre of Macao, while to its immediate west lie the Ruins of St Paul’s. It houses a rich display of Macao’s history and diverse culture, with three permanent exhibitions. With a collection of deep historical and cultural value, the museum highlights the changes to Macao over several hundred years, and tells the story of people from different countries and cultural backgrounds settling in Macao and living in harmony.
The Macao Museum of Art (MMA) was founded on 19th March 1999. The total area of the Museum is 10,192 square metres, of which exhibition areas occupy 4,000 square metres. It is the largest and only museum fully dedicated to the arts in Macao. The Macao Museum of Art is a five-storey building with various exhibition areas and galleries.
The library on the ground floor provides books and magazines on cultural relics and arts for the public to read. Opened in November 2008, the 700 square metre Art2 studio features a printmaking room, a studio, a multi-functional room and an audio-visual room, primarily for the teaching of art creation, training, and art theory.
Besides offering permanent exhibitions to show its long-term collections, MMA frequently holds many different types of exhibition exchanged with museums and organisations from China and other regions and countries, enabling the public to enjoy the art works and cultures of different places and times.
The Taipa Houses were built in 1921; consist of five Portuguese buildings once serving as the residences of senior civil servants and Macanese families.
The five houses are ‘Macanese Living Museum’, ‘Exhibitions Gallery’, ‘Creative Casa’, ‘Nostalgic House’ and ‘House for Receptions’ from west to east, respectively. This project has converted the place into a combination of culture and creativity, with outdoor performances and leisure elements making it a showcase of not only the culture of the Portuguese-speaking countries but of culture from all over the world.
The academy introduces the public to the academic achievements of Professor Jao, and promotes Chinese culture and arts, as well as promulgating Chinese culture and arts and promoting academic exchange related to sinological studies. There are two exhibition rooms, the one on the ground floor is ideal for various types of small-size temporary exhibitions, while the one of the first floor is home to the permanent exhibition Paintings and Calligraphies Donated by Jao Tsung-I.
The Jao Tsung-I Academy, Tap Seac Galleery and its peripheral buildings were all constructed during the same period, together forming a unique cluster of historic monuments, is one of Macao’s designated heritage sites.
Adjacent to the renowned Macao’s world heritage listed icon Ruins of St. Paul’s, the Cinematheque‧Passion, located at Travessa da Paixão No. 13, is a three-storey multifunctional building assembled including film screening, local video storage, as well as film journals and book reading services. The ticket office, screening room and control room are located on the ground floor of the Cinematheque. Local film materials and videos, periodicals and magazines are available for residents in the film information room on the first floor.
One of the oldest museums in Macao, the Maritime Museum was founded in 1987. The museum reflects the vital role of the sea in Macao’s history, systematically portraying the remarkable achievements of China and Portugal in maritime history, and explains the importance of the sea to human culture
Founded in 1895, the Macao Public Library is under the auspices of the Department of Public Library Management, Cultural Affairs Bureau. Comprising 14 public libraries, one Western language library, one mobile library and the Macao ISBN Agency, it houses a collection of over one million books and multimedia items, including newspapers, periodicals, literature, audio-visual materials and various types of electronic resources covering various disciplines in order to meet the knowledge needs of the general public in the areas of society, education, information and leisure.
Cultural Information Platform
The website of the Cultural Affairs Bureau and mobile site are official websites of the Cultural Affairs Bureau which seek to provide cultural services information regarding cultural activities, performances, exhibitions, heritage protection, promotion of arts education, and academic research, subsidy programme as well as service information of over 30 cultural facilities.
Furthermore, the Cultural Affairs Bureau has established the Macao Heritage Net and Macao World Heritage Net, as well as the Macao Cultural and Creative Industries Website, all of which promote the exchange of information in the cultural and creative industries and deepen the understanding of other sectors regarding development of the cultural and creative industries.
Sports in Macao
The Public Sports Facilities Network of Sports Bureau includes over 40 sports venues, which are located in most districts and continuously improved to meet the needs of different sports. Besides, Sports Bureau organizes various Fitness and Recreational Classes in response to the ever-changing demands of users and to encourage residents towards building healthy lives.
Sport for All
The government has been undertaking continued efforts to provide exercise opportunities for residents of different age and social classes, and enrich the elements of Sport for all to promote active participation of residents, with a view to achieving physical and mental wellbeing, enriching leisure time and promoting social harmony.
In addition, Sports Bureau organizes various Fitness and Recreational Classes every year so that residents can physically exercise under the guidance of qualified instructors in a safe environment.
The Bureau regularly organizes a Sport for All Fitness and Recreational Class; please visit the following link for class timetable
To enhance the quality of life of local residents and to disseminate the important message of sports and exercise for all social classes, Sports Bureau organizes Sports for All Day in various social communities on a monthly basis in order to promote residents’ participation in sport and to achieve the goal of lifelong exercise.
Many Macao residents are voluntarily conducting physical exercises in parks and health walking trails. In order to let residents acquire relevant exercising knowledge and techniques so as to reduce unnecessary injuries, Sports Bureau has initiated a Sports and Health Consultation Service Point every Sunday in public places where residents often voluntarily engage in physical exercise. The Service Point provides residents with messages regarding sport and callisthenic activities, including:
Demonstration and experience: instructors of Sport for All Fitness and Recreational Classes conduct demonstrations and invite interested residents to experience the activities for themselves. This seeks to enable the public to experience different sports and the fun of sporting activity.
Health Consultation Services: provide health examinations such as blood pressure, heart rate, body height and weight and body fat percentage, as well as professional sports plans and suggestion in order for residents to exercise via more scientific, effective and safer means.
Disseminating messages of Sport for All activities: Sports Bureau disseminates messages about Sport for All activities - including information about Fitness and Recreation Classes and other sports activities.
Dragon boat activity has been promoted as an annual international dragon boat race in Macao since 1979. Athletic teams from different countries are invited to Macao to participate in this sports event enriched with traditional features.
Macao International Dragon Boat Races are jointly organised by Macao Sports Bureau and Macao China Dragon Boat Association. While dragon boating is a widely popular festive activity in Macao during the Dragon Boat Festival, the Macao International Dragon Boat Races have grown to become an important sports event in the territory. Year by year, the event has become larger in scale and attracts an increasing number of participants. Thousands of skilled athletes from home and abroad gather annually in Macao to participate in this significant event.
From 1994 to 2017, Macao has successfully hosted 21 editions of World Women's Volleyball Grand Prix. The organizing committee has been recognized for its efforts by the International Volleyball Federation and the events have been well received by the residents and tourists. The grand debut of the FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in 2018 has brought to the audience exciting matches of higher standard showcasing the outstanding skills of world-class volleyball players..
The FIVB World Women's Volleyball Nations League is a brand-new annual large-scale world-class volleyball competition of the International Volleyball Federation. Twelve core competing teams (including Brazil, China, Italy, the United States, etc.) and four challenger teams competed in a round-robin tournament for the championship.
With the objective of promoting traditional wushu (Chinese martial arts), a discipline that has a long history in Macao, the Government, introduced the Wushu Masters Challenge in 2016.
This exciting event comprises a great variety of wushu activities, ranging from taolu, sanda, and lion dance demonstration to engaging the participation of local residents and tourists and further developing their insights into this traditional sport via performances and competitions. Moreover, it provides a diversifying communication platform for wushu enthusiasts to learn and train as well as to exchange and share their experiences in practising wushu amongst one another.
The Asia League is an event platform for Asian elite basketball clubs that is certified by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The League is committed to raising the level of Asian basketball by bringing together the top clubs involved in high-caliber basketball tournaments in Asia. In 2018, the Asia League held two international events － Summer Super 8 tournament and The Terrific 12 － in Macao. In addition, the League organized development and exchange activities － the Summer Super 8 Coaches’ Clinic and FIBA Elite Referee Development Camp －for coaches and referees. Referees participating in the Camp may have the opportunity to take part in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Recognised as the most internationally prestigious event on the local calendar, the legendary Macau Grand Prix - now edging into its sixth decade since 1954 –pits the best motorcycle, WTCC and Formula 3 racers in the world against each other and the clock in dedicated competitions along the narrow, twisting Guia street circuit of Macao city, and is known for being the only street circuit racing event in which both car and motorcycle races are held.
Its long history dates to 1981 when it was first organised, the competition has been held annually in the first Sunday of December. The Sports Bureau and the Macao Athletics Association began to jointly organise this competition.
The competition routes - which are not fixed and often adjusted every year - cover a total length of 42.195 kilometres. Tthe race course has been examined and certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) since 1990.
Participating athletes come from around the world. Best records: Men: Julius Kiplimo Maisei, Kenya, 2:12:43 (2013). Women: Tsega Gelaw Reta, Kenya, 2:31:48 (2011). A half-marathon (21.0975 kilometres) and a mini-marathon (5 kilometres) were launched in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
Public Sports Facilities Network
The Sports Bureau launched “Public Sports Facilities Network” in 2006, providing venues for residents’ daily exercise, and nurturing elite athletes of Federation of Macao Sport General Association. The venues also host sports and cultural activities in Macao. Details
The venue booking service is divided into individual bookings and group bookings. Individual bookings can be made by visiting the sports facilities or through our online booking system. Residents or groups may rent the venues within the Public Sports Facilities Network according to need. Details
The “Sport Easy” membership programme launched on 14th October 2008 facilitates the use of public sports facilities by Macao residents. The programme seeks to build a complete database of sports participants by encouraging Macao residents to enrol in the programme. It also seeks to simplify procedures for residents registering for activities and simplify the input of data on individual booking of facilities.
The Sports Medical Centre is dedicated to enhancing Macao’s sports development, strengthening residents’ health, and improving athletes’ competitive levels by providing scientific, professional and diversified services. The Centre serves athletes registered with the Federation of Macao Sport General Association, mass sports athletes, disabled sports athletes, school sports athletes, college sports athletes and referrals from the Health Bureau. In addition, the Centre provides physical fitness tests and assessment services to the community.