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 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, of which local art groups account for the majority. The Festival also provides a platform for outstanding local art works.
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 ‘Parade through Macao, Latin City’ is a cultural event that unfolds as a procession through the streets of Macao. Created in 2011, the Parade is held in December each year to mark the anniversary of Macao’s Handover to China. Every year, several foreign performing groups as well as hundreds of 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, culminates in a grand joint performance in which the artists present dazzlingly colourful performances, bringing the celebration of this joyous occasion to a vivid climax.
The Macao Young Musicians Competition seeks to promote the development of classical music and provide opportunities for young local musicians to gain valuable stage experience and enhance their performance abilities, as well as encouraging participants to tap their own musical potential, helping them explore professional development in music and possibly embark upon a musical career.
Theatre / Exhibition
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 276 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 is situated on Xian Xing Hai Avenue in NAPE. Completed and opened in March 1999, the complex 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.
Old Courthouse Black Box Theatre
The Old Courthouse will be the location for the new Central Library. It is currently a temporary space for exhibitions and performances. The Black Box Theatre on the first floor is designed for small-scale drama and dance performances. With different staging configurations, it can be set up for seats on one side, two sides, or with transverse seating, accommodating an audience of 90 to 120 persons.
Tap Seac Gallery
The Tap Seac Gallery is 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.
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 currently serves as a 400 square metre exhibition venue. The front part forms the main exhibition area, while the rear is ideal for holding exhibitions, seminars and lectures. The gallery and its peripheral buildings were all constructed during the same period, together forming a unique cluster of historic monuments in the Tap Seac area, one of Macao’s designated heritage sites.
Centuries of East-West cultural interaction have endowed Macao with many unique museums. They range from the Museum of Macau, Museum of Sacred Art, the Handover Gifts Museum of Macau, Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Taipa Houses-Museum, Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt and Maritime Museum, to the Grand Prix Museum, Wine Museum and Fire Service Museum.
The Macao Museum 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 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 Museum was opened on 18th April 1998.
The Macao Museum of Art 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, MAM 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 Handover Gifts Museum of Macau is situated next to the Macao Museum of Art on Xian Xing Hai Avenue in the Outer Harbour Reclamation Area (NAPE). This was the site of the temporary venue where the Macao Handover Ceremony was conducted by the Chinese and Portuguese Governments on 20th December 1999. The structure was dismantled afterwards, and its location became the construction site of the Handover Gifts Museum of Macao, in commemoration of the momentous occasion of Macao’s return to the Motherland and opened to the public in December 2004.
The handover gifts exhibition hall mainly exhibits the handover gifts presented by the State Council of The People’s Republic of China, its countrywide provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, providing a better understanding amongst Macao residents and tourists regarding Chinese history, geography and culture. Dedicated to promoting the cultural development of Macao and improving the quality of culture and life of the local people, the designated topic exhibition hall is used to host various types of exhibition.
Founded in 1728 by Jesuit missionaries, St. Joseph’s Seminary has cultivated numerous outstanding Catholic clergy in the course of the last three centuries, maintained a close relationship with Macao’s social development and made positive contributions to local cultural, educational, artistic and charitable undertakings.
St. Joseph’s Seminary houses a great number of religious artefacts (e.g.) books and documents, oil paintings, icons, liturgical vestments and vessels, etc. In order to give the public an opportunity to appreciate these historical collections, the Cultural Affairs Bureau has collaborated with the Seminary and the Catholic Diocese of Macao in establishing the Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary, which opened in October 2016.
Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt
Between 1990 and 1996, the former Portuguese Administration conducted archaeological excavations and repaired the Ruins of St Paul’s (the Church of Mother of God or Mater Dei) and built the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt on the site of the grave of Father Alexandre Valignano, the founder of St. Paul’s College, according to the research findings. The museum was opened on 23rd October 1996.
The Mandarin’s House is the ancestral family residence of the modern Chinese master Zheng Guanying. Zheng’s world-famous book Shengshi Weiyan (Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity) was completed here. The construction of the Mandarin’s House was initiated by Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying, and the Zheng brothers expanded it. The house was probably built before 1869. In February 2010, the Mandarin’s House was opened to the public.
Completed in 1889, Lou Kau Mansion was formerly the residence of the prominent Macao merchant Lou Kau and his family. It is among the few intact mansions of the wealthy in Macao that dates back to the late Qing Dynasty. Inside, it retains a large number of exquisite carvings in wood, stone and brick; plaster mouldings; pottery decorations; murals; and garden designs, which are typical of the architectural style of traditional Lingnan dwellings.
Chong Sai Pharmacy
The building located at No. 80 in Rua das Estalagens, where the Chong Sai Pharmacy established by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, was built before 1892. The building is a typical shophouse. Afterwards, the house was rented out, handed over and sold several times throughout the years, the Government of Macao S.A.R acquired the house in 2011 and carried out restoration and revitalisation works. After its conservation has been completed in 2016, it has become an exhibition space for the public.
General Ye Ting’s Former Residence
The Former Residence of General Ye Ting is a two-storey Western-style building, where of General Ye Ting, founder of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and distinguished militarist, and his family lived. The site has retained more than a dozen invaluable items of furniture of the former residence, along with objects of daily life and home decorations, such as wooden cupboards, a pendulum clock, and a wooden bed. The site was opened to the public in May 2014.
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 historical maritime achievements of China and Portugal, and explains the importance of the sea to human culture.
Acclaimed as one of the top eight sites of Macao, the Taipa Houses represent a charming Portuguese architectural style. The five Portuguese buildings of Taipa Houses were built in 1921, once serving as the residences of senior civil servants and Macanese families.
In the 1980s, the Direcção dos Serviços de Turismo acquired these houses and decided to revamp them completely. In 1992, they were acknowledged as a building complex of architectural value. The Government conducted a complete renovation of all the buildings, which were opened to the public in December 1999.
In September 2016, the Government re-capitalised these five buildings by transforming them into the ‘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.
Macao Public Library
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.
There are affiliated websites for cultural facilities including the Macao Central Library, Macao Historical Archives, Macao Conservatory, Macao Cultural Centre, Macao Museum of Art, Museum of Macau and the Tap Seac Gallery. Also provided is detailed information on cultural events such as the Macao Arts Festival, the Macao International Music Festival, and Parade through Macao, Latin City.
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.
The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix has contributed much to the promotion of volleyball activities across the world. The early competitions and the finals were usually held in East Asia, because the volleyball market in East Asia is large and has a large audience as well as investors.
In 1994, Macao became one of the host cities of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, which is jointly organised by the Sports Bureau and Volleyball Association of Macao, China. The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is by nature a commercial sport event; the entries qualifying for the week of finals are selected upon the scores pocketed during its preliminary round matches and the winner of the finals will be considered as the champion of the competition.
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 Macao (Golf) Open – inaugurated in 1998 provides a stern challenge for the World’s 100-plus leading golfers. The event was first broadcast live in 2011 to over 200 countries of 850 million households worldwide. The Macao (Golf) Open is not only a spectacular sport event in Macao, and is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the Asian Tour.
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.