Macao is one of the earliest port cities that China opened up to the world, as well as a crucial node and trading hub of the Maritime Silk Road. Chinese and Westerners have been living in the same territory harmoniously for over 400 years, while exerting influence on one another, contributing to the formation of Macao’s culture that features a blend of Eastern and Western characteristics and a sense of inclusiveness. After Macao’s handover to China, the city has won itself three prestigious titles on the international stage, namely the city of ‘World Cultural Heritage’, ‘the Memory of the World’ and ‘the Creative City of Gastronomy’, which have immensely elevated its image as a cultural city. Coupled with the construction and development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Macao will invest greater efforts in establishing itself as ‘a hub of exchange and co-operation where traditional Chinese culture prevails and other cultures flourish in harmony’.
Following its policy of promoting Chinese culture whilst preserving the unique pluralistic cultural heritage of Macao, the operation of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC thereafter) comprises of different sectors, including cultural heritage, exhibition and museums, performances, creativity and public libraries.
In addition to the promotion, transmission and the promotion of the tangible and intangible cultural heritages, the IC hosts various cultural and artistic exhibitions, reading promotions and cultural dissemination activities, through the two professional orchestra and mega cultural and artistic events, the IC also promotes multi-culture and art transmission, dissemination, exchange and cooperation, so as to enhance the cultural literacy and aesthetics. Meanwhile, the government encourages non-governmental organisations and cultural workers to organize cultural activities and artistic creation, so as to enrich residents’ life, as well as enhancing the humanity essence of as World Centre of Tourism and Leisure and the cultural image of Macao. 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.
The Historic Centre of Macao is a living representation of the city’s historic settlement, valuable resource of the sustainable development of Macao, and the product of cultural exchange between the western world and Chinese civilization. The Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China. In addition, the abundant cultural historical resources of Macao include classifies immovable properties, intangible cultural heritage, archaeological heritage, ancient and famous trees. In order to strengthen the protection of Macao’s valuable cultural resources, including The Historic Centre of Macao, the government made the Law No. 11/2013 - Cultural Heritage Protection Law, which clearly lays down the relevant provisions regarding the protection of Macao’s cultural heritage, such as the scope and method of protection, procedures and standards of the assessment of heritage, legal responsibility and obligation, on the other hand, the Cultural Heritage Committee is set up as consultation body, which established the system of the protection of cultural heritage of Macao SAR.
On 15 July 2015, the 29th meeting of UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China. The Historic Centre of Macao comprises of 22 classified immovable assets and eight piazzas as well as the streetscapes that links the piazzas and architectural legacies, with its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West.
Macao’s abundant cultural heritage has witnessed the harmonious integration of Chinese and Western cultures in the past hundreds of years. In addition to the Historic Center of Macao, there are many properties of cultural significance in Macao. Since the Decree-Law No. 11/2013 - Cultural Heritage Protection Law was passed and promulgated, providing legal protection for all properties of cultural significance, the government will regularly launch cultural heritage evaluation and research, which will eventually include more properties of cultural significance to legal protection. By the end of 2020, protected properties in Macao had been increased from 128 (before Cultural Heritage Protection Law was promulgated) to 147, which are classified into four categories: monuments; buildings of architectural and artistic interest, architectural complexes and sites, scattered across the Macao Peninsula, Taipa, and Coloane. Among the 15 items in the Inventory of Macao’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, 12 were inscribed on the List of Macao Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Government formulates protection measures according to the value and characteristics of the heritage, to promote and pass on cultural traditions. The Government actively safeguards Macao and its cultural heritage, which is characterised by unique multicultural diversity and harmony.
Ruins of St Paul’s College and the old church of Mater Dei
St Paul’s College was established by the Society of Jesuit in 1504, which was the first western-style institution of university level in the China, the old church of Mater Dei was part of the College. The old church of Mater Dei was built from 1602, the foundation still lays on the left of the façade, MATER DEI" is engraved on the front door, which means “Mother of God”. The St Paul’s College and the church was destroyed in a fire in 1835, only the façade of the church, staircase and most of the foundation remained. The local people used to call it “Dai San Ba Pai Fong” because the façade looks similar to Chinese traditional arch, and the transliteration of St. Paul.
First established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591, the original structure was simple, the rooftop was covered with fan palm leaves. Seen from afar, these leaves appeared to be dragon's whiskers floating in the wind, hence the local Chinese named it Long Song Miu (Temple of the Long-whiskered Dragon). In 1874, the building was revamped to what people can presently witness. The church has a brick and wood structure, orientating in the north and facing the south, and a simple, neoclassical front. St Augustine’s Church is also the starting point of the event “Procession of Passion of our Lord”. The Procession boasts a long history in Macao. It can be traced back to 1708, is part of the Catholic “Novena of the Passion of Our Lord, the God Jesus”, which takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday of Lent. It starts from the St. Augustine’s Church heading to the Cathedral on the first day and returns on the second day. At each designated "Station" on the return route, a female taking the role of Veronica solos a sorrowful song and responded by a priest and the participants in prayers and songs, giving a sense of grief conveyed in the air. The Procession is inscribed on the List of Intangible Heritage of Macao.
This church was established in 1587, it was the first church being established in China by Dominican. It was originally built in wood, hence its naming in Chinese as Pan Cheong Tong meaning “Church of Wooden Planks”. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. It was built in baroque style. The façade is symmetrical and divided into four horizontal levels, on the religious insignia of the Dominican order is carried on the centre of the third level. The Treasure of Sacred Art which has a collection of around 300 artefacts dated from the 17th to the 19th century was installed during the restoration of the St Dominic’s Church in 1997.
In 1929, this church integrated the worship of Our Lady of Fatima into its religious service. The Macao Procession of Our Lady of Fatima first took place on the same year. The procession currently takes place on 13 May of each year, is part of the “Feast and Novena of Our Lady of Fatima”, the Procession of Our Lady of Fatima is dedicated to the celebration of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, in Portugal, 1917. With recitations of rosary and singing of hymns all along, the procession makes its way from the St. Dominic’s Church to the Penha Chapel, providing a very impressive scene. The religious celebration in Macao shows distinctive features as well as an inscribed item on the List of Intangible Heritage of Macao.
Situated on the peak of Guia Hill – the highest point of Macao Peninsular, Guia Fortress was built in 1622 and underwent expansion works from 1637 to 1638. It comprises a barracks, a powder magazine and a tower. Since then, the fortress was classified as a restricted military area, until 1976 when the Portuguese army retreated from Macao. Since then, it has been kept as it was. The chapel next to the lighthouse has been known as Guia Chapel, was built in 1622, dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Guia. In 1996 frescoes were uncovered inside Guia Chapel during routine conservation work. Colourful frescos were painted on the vaulting and the walls inside the chapel. Its painting techniques integrate both Chinese and Western art, is a perfect example of Macao’s multicultural dimension. Guia Lighthouse became operational on the 24th of September of t865. It was the earliest modern lighthouse in the Far East and on the Chinese seacoast. The lighthouse was damaged by a typhoon in September 1874. Its service resumed on the 29th of June 1910, after the conclusion of the repair works.
The Mandarin’s House is the ancestral home of Zheng Guanying, a pioneering thinker, industrialist, literary writer and humanitarian of modern China. Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity, which Zheng wrote while living in the Mandarin’s House, has been called a masterpiece that pushed forward reform of modern China. It can be traced back to 1869 when Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying, initiated the building of the Mandarin's House. The Mandarin’s House is a residential complex, as well as the only “Ronglu Hall” (which means House of a Chinese government official) in Macao. The Mandarin's House has the characteristics of traditional Guangdong's residences. Yet, it also features a fusion of architectural influences from western cultures. The Mandarin's House occupies an area of 4000m2, it extends more than 120 metres in depth, on which are buildings and open spaces designed in various architectural styles. The entire complex has more than 60 rooms in total. A private residence for one family of such scale is rare in Macao.
Lou Kau Mansion is believed to be built in 1889, which was the former family residence of the prominent merchant of Macao, Lou Va Sio (Lou Kau). Although the house is typically Chinese in its general architectural structure, which represents the Chinese residences featuring the graceful and delicate architectural style in the late Qing dynasty, its decorative motifs also integrate western influences. The Mansion is a two-storey house, organised in a three-by-three grid of space. The inside of the building was designed with several patios to enhance ventilation and natural lighting. Despite being separated by door screens, the space along the central axis is directly accessible. The interior dncor is rather fascinating with a combination of Chinese brick carvings, plasterwork, horizontal panels, hanging openwork arches and oyster shell windows, which are common in central Guangdong, as well as Western false ceilings, Manzhou widows (stained glass windows) and cast-iron handrails. The mansion is a representation of the integration of Chinese and Western architectural styles, which is unique to residences in Macao.
Built in 1860 as the first Western-style theatre in all of China, the Dom Pedro V Theatre has since served as a performing venue for music, dance and various other kinds of performances. In addition to a theatre, the structure once also housed a ball room, a reading room and a billiard parlour, making it a venue of central importance for the Macanese community at the time. The Theatre was also rented out to local businessmen in the past, for the showing of films, which led to the establishment of the “Macao Cinema for Distinguished Films”. For this reason, the Dom Pedro V Theatre is also known in everyday Chinese as the “Macao Theatre”.
With an exquisite and refined architectural and decorative design, the Dom Pedro V Theatre emanates a strong romantic flavour. Its neoclassical style not only embodies the splendid characteristics of the European theatres of the time, it also integrates beautifully into the Macao environment. White cornice and architrave mouldings define spaces on the sage green exterior walls, which feature doors and shutters in dark green, all housed under a terracotta roof. This contrasting colour palette stands out against the blocks of yellow buildings on Largo de Santo Agostinho, yet it strikes a harmonious chord with its surroundings. The Theatre contains a vestibule boasting an ancient crystal chandelier, which adds an immensely rich artistic ambience and even a sense of mystery to the interior. The performance hall is comfortable and spacious, with a capacity of 275 seats arranged in curved rows. A staircase located at the end of a long side corridor leads up to the semi-circular balcony seating area. Having spent over a century in vivid use by the Macao community, the Dom Pedro V Theatre is now one of the important historic buildings in the Historic Centre of Macao ensemble inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Theatre has survived as a witness to the bygone leisure and entertainment activities of the Macanese community and today remains a tremendously refined and distinctive performing venue for culture and arts, staying true to its traditional function and historic legacy. It stands as one of the most important and enduring testimonies to the development of Macao’s performing arts.
As a place of meeting cultures, Macao has created the unique cultural landscape for intangible heritage. As of 2021, a total of 70 items in Macao have been recorded on the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, with 12 items inscribed on the List of intangible Cultural Heritage. In addition, 11 items of Macao inscribed on the mentioned National Representative List, including: Cantonese Opera, Herbal Tea Brewing, Woodwork - Religious Figure Carving, Cantonese Naamyam (Narrative Songs), Taoist Ritual Music, Festival of the Drunken Dragon, Belief and Customs of A-Ma, Belief and Customs of Na Tcha, Macanese Gastronomy, Patuá Theatre and Belief and Customs of Tou Tei.
In order to strengthen the protection of Macao’s intangible cultural heritage, when the Macao SAR government prepared Law No. 11/2013 – Cultural Heritage Protection Law, the intangible cultural heritage was included as an object of protection. This law dedicates a specific chapter to protective measures related to the safeguard of Macao's intangible cultural heritage, also defining the scope of what constitutes intangible cultural heritage, while also establishing the criteria, inventory procedures, emergency response mechanisms and the duties inherent to the transmitters of this type of heritage, among other standards, altogether representing a significant advancement.
Exhibition Facilities and Museums
The Department of Exhibition and Museums manages a number of museums and exhibition facilities. The museums cover themes such as history, culture, art, humanity, traditional industries and religion, which includes the Museum of Macao, Macao Museum of Art, Museum of Taipa and Coloane, Zheng Guanying Memorial Museum, Xian Xinghai Memorial Museum, Former Chong Sai Pharmacy, General Ye Ting’s Former Residence and Heritage Exhibition of a Traditional Pawnshop Business. Exhibition facilities are mainly used for visual art exhibitions, such as Tap Seac Gallery, Macao Contemporary Art Center – Navy Yard No.1, Mong-ha Villa, Mount Fortress Corridor and Former Municipal Cattle Stable.
The Macao Museum was opened on 18th April 1998. The Macao Museum showcases Macao’s history and cultural diversity. With their rich and profound historical and cultural connotations, the exhibits in the museum demonstrate the historical changes of Macao over the past centuries. The Macao Museum, which opened on 18 April 1998, is three storeys high. Two floors are built under the platform of Mount Fortress, while only the top floor is converted from the ground building of the original weather observatory, thus retaining the original architectural style and geomorphological features of Mount Fortress to the maximum.
The first floor of the museum presents the development of Chinese and Western culture before the Portuguese arrival in the 16th century, Macao's early history and the development of its culture, influenced by the commercial activities between the Chinese and the Portuguese, and by religious and cultural contact between the two civilizations, as well as the culture of Macao which is developed from then on; the second floor shows various aspects of the traditions and folk arts of Macao, as well as its religious ceremonies and traditional festivals of Macao; the third floor features current city life and highlighting the portrayal of the region by various literary and artistic personalities.
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. On the fourth floor are 2 special exhibition rooms, mainly used to display artifacts, painting and calligraphic collections. There are 3 special exhibition rooms on the third floor to display MMA collections and the works of local artists. 2 exhibition zones on the second floor showing contemporary collections and works of western artists. On the ground floor locates exhibition area, reception, museum shop, the Palace Museum Cultural and Creativity Store as well as the auditorium. On the level zero, there is also a workshop where various art courses are regularly organised.
Currently, the MMA has over 16,000 collections, which mainly includes Cantonese calligraphy and painting, historical painting, Shiwan ceramics, Macao images, art of Macao and performance. In addition, MMA regularly cooperates with exhibition museums of Mainland China and other regions for different types of exchanges and exhibitions. MMA also organizes various kinds of exhibitions of local artists’ work. MMA has being organizing local artists to participate in Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition under the name of “Macao-China” since 2007, thereby promoting Macao’s contemporary art on the international stage.
The Handover Gifts Museum of Macao is also the area that was used for the handover ceremony on 20th December, 1999 in which Macao was returned to the Mainland. When the hall was dismantled after the ceremony the area became part of the Macao Cultural Centre. Construction work for the Handover Gifts Museum of Macao started in March 2003 and was completed in October 2004. The Museum was officially opened December 2004 to commemorate the handover for its significance in Macao’s modern history.
The handover gifts exhibition hall mainly exhibits the handover gifts presented by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, its country-wide provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The designated topic exhibition hall will be used to hold different exhibits, which are mainly themed at the local culture and history of Macao. In 2020, the “Patrioctic Education Base for Young People” was established under the management of the Education and Youth Development Bureau.
The academy was established in 2015 to introduce the public to the academic achievements of Professor Jao, and promote 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, one on the ground floor and the other one of the first floor. Besides, there is a library and an auditorim which be used for holding exhibitions, seminar, and workshops, while higher priority will be given to Chinese traditional cultural related activities. 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.
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.
In commemoration of the great Macao-born musician Xian Xinghai, the Macao SAR Government has established the Xian Xinghai Memorial Museum to exhibit his exemplary life paths and promote his musical achievements. The Museum was inaugurated on 23 November, 2019. In September 2020, the museum was inscribed on the Third Batch of National Anti-Japanese War Memorial Facilities and Sites.
The Maritime Museum was inaugurated in 1987. The former location was a two- storey house situated in the Largo do Pagode da Barra. However, because of increasing visitors and the acquisition of collections, it was necessary to move to a more spacious premises. For this reason, a new building was erected for the purpose and was inaugurated on June 1990, in the same square as the original house, (now used for the Museum offices) and at the side of the A-Ma Temple.
The architectural façade of the Museum gives the viewer an impression of a stylized vessel. The exhibition area is divided into three storeys with different features, mainly on the Chinese and Portuguese voyages and discoveries, the exhibitions not only reflected the historical development of Macao, it also systematically portraying the remarkable achievements of China and Portugal in maritime history, and explains the importance of the sea to human culture.
The Museum includes a gallery of aquariums and a nice esplanade by the river with a bar.
Pátio da Eterna Felicidade
The Pátio da Eterna Felicidade also known as “Alley of Eternal Happiness” in Chinese, situates at foot of the west of the Mount Fortress and adjacent to the Ruins of St. Paul’s and St. Anthony’s Church. It is lined by traditional Chinese residential buildings of varying heights but in a coherent style, which and gives a sense of uniqueness in space and ambience. The Pátio da Eterna Felicidade shows the distinctive characteristics of pátios, is one of the well-preserved alleyways of Macao which are rare to find in Macao nowadays. In 1940s, Hip Lu San donated the ownership of the area to the Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association. After using the area for charitable purpose for over a half century, the Association donated 13 buildings in the area to the government of Macao to continue the cultural value of neighbourhood and multi-culture of Macao. The Pátio is mainly used as performance facility.
Ka Ho Village
In the Ka Ho Village stands the only old site of Leprosy Centre. In 1885, the Portuguese government built the Ka Ho Leprosy Center which was originally one or two simple brick houses. The Centre was rebuilt and expanded to five houses and a small chapel in the 1930s, more buildings were constructed thereby to meet the actual need. the houses which stand up until today were built and occupied by the patients. The Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows was constructed in 1966, the small chapel was then turned into an activity room. In 1953, Father Gaetano Nicosia, an Italian priest of Salesian community moved to Macau to look after the leprosy center, the Ka Ho Leprosy Center was later changed into Our Lady of Sorrows, symbolized the care of Holy Mary.
Currently there is an activity canter in the village, an exhibition to introduce the history of the Ka Ho Village, and a gallery and café operated by local organization, which assists rehabilitated persons to return to the society.
The Patane Night Watch House is the only remain of the night watch house in Macao. In order to reveal the traditional values of mutual assistance, which took place between different neighbourhoods and local communities, the Cultural Affairs Bureau and Patane's Tou Tei Mio Mercy and Charity Association work together to rehabilitate the Patane Night Watch House to showcase the history of the night watch profession of Macao and folk traditions and local history. The Night Watch House was officially opened to the public on the 18th of December, 2015
The Na Tcha Customs and Beliefs of Macao having been passed down from generation to generation, were inscribed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2014. In order to foster and promote the Na Tcha Customs and Beliefs, in 2012 the Na Tcha Exhibition Room was established adjacent to the Na Tcha Temple, which was used exclusively as a cultural facility to introduce and showcase the artifacts and historical document of the Na Tcha Customs and Beliefs.
Cultural and Arts Events
The biennale Art Macao is a local cultural tourism brand created by the government departments and enterprises, enhancing urban experience of the audience by turning the entire city into a gallery, to foster international exchange and collaboration and promote the art development of Macao. Art Macao will continue to encourage local talents to focus to art, meanwhile encourages local enterprises to purchase local creations, so as to establish a platform for developing local creative industry to the world.
Started in 1988, the Macao Arts Festival dramatically lights up the city every early summer. The one-month Macao Arts Festival brings together theatre, dance, music, multimedia and visual arts in an artistic panorama of events. A mix of local, regional and international performers from various regions and countries around the world present a diversity of programmes and a host of exciting artistic experiences such as workshops, master classes, art accessibility activities and videos rich in diverse and outstanding content, bringing incredible art to the public.
The first edition of Macao International Music Festival was held in 1987 and has since developed into a month-long event held in October each year. In organising this event, it is not only a platform to showcase the exquisite musical skills of local musicians, it also hopes to introduce outstanding musical works from different parts of the world to Macao. 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.
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 2018. It includes a variety of activities such as Chinese and Portuguese traditional dancing, film panorama of China and Portuguese-speaking countries, annual art exhibition of China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
The Macao International Parade is one of the major events of Macao cultural brand. Created in 2011, the Parade is held in December 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.
“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.
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 Orchestra (OM) is a professional ensemble under the auspices of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government. OM is now a distinguished orchestra of Asia, performing Chinese and Western classics throughout the times.
In 1983, Father Áureo de Castro of the St. Pious X Academy of Music and a group of music lovers founded the Macao Chamber Orchestra. In 2001, the Macao Chamber Orchestra was extended into an orchestra with double winds; it was renamed the Macao Orchestra. Today, it has developed into a small-to-medium-sized orchestra of around 50 outstanding musicians from more than ten countries and regions. In 2008, Maestro Lu Jia commenced his tenure as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra, initiating the convention of “Concert Seasons” and in each season 90 different concerts and outreach programme would be held, presenting to the public, comprehensively and systematically, classics from both Western and Chinese.
The Macao Chinese Orchestra, a professional orchestra under the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government, was established in 1987.
The Macao Chinese Orchestra has made great efforts to promote music art education and culture and demonstrate its concern for society by going deep into the community and schools; it has been actively participating in the local events, including Macao International Music Festival, Macao Arts Festival and Celebration of the Anniversary of Macao's Handover to China; it has also been strengthening the nurture of small and medium-sized arts groups and young musicians with an aim to promote local Chinese music development; it has been trying to put music performances into the stage of World Heritage Sites, museums, libraries, parks etc., to enrich residents’ lives and activate the artistic genes in communities.
Taking full advantage of the blend of Chinese and Western cultures in Macao, the Macao Chinese Orchestra has acted as the cultural ambassador of the SAR government to promote Macao abroad, while supporting local culture in the domestic market, and continuing to build Macao as a city of cultural sustainability.
The Macao Chinese Orchestra had toured all over many countries and cities, such as Portugal, Belgium, India, Goa, Singapore, the Kingdom of Bahrain and other countries, as well as to nearly 20 provincial capitals and major cities. Through the integration of Chinese-Western elements and contemporary Chinese music art, the Orchestra aims to enhance exchanges and cooperation, and promote the cultural image of the integration of Macao and the West, what has been widely praised.
Cultural and Creativity Activities and Facilities
Since 2008, the Tap Siac Craft Market is held twice every year in Spring and Autumn, providing a platform for cultural and creative practitioners to display and sell their products. The “Tap Siac Craft Market” is a distinctive brand in the cultural and creative market, it attracts both local and overseas creative talents featuring booths to showcase their creativity. During the event, various handicraft workshops will be held, in which experienced creative instructors will teach the participants handicraft skills, allowing the public to explore and enjoy the fun of creation, and wonderful music performance will be held.
The Cinematheque‧Passion was inaugurated in 2017, as an interactive and exchange platform for audience and filmmakers, the Cinematheque is taking the role of promoting film culture and Macao films widely, cultivating art sense to Macao people and film lovers, where Locals and tourists can enjoy more high-quality films from different parts of the world. The Cinematheque‧Passion is a three-storey multifunctional building assembled including film screening, local video storage, exhibition, as well as film journals and book reading services. The ticket office, screening room and control room are located on the ground floor. Local film materials and videos, periodicals and magazines are available for residents in the film information room on the first floor. It also provides exhibition area to hold related activities.
Macao Fashion Gallery was established in 2012, taking the role of Fashion Showroom and Fashion retail. It eventually becomes the most comprehensive hub for showcasing local designed fashion and apparel, devoting to establish a professional image for local fashion brand and create a sense of fashion creativity, as well as an exchange platform for audience and fashion designer. Macao Fashion Gallery holds exhibitions, pop-up stores, seminars, workshops and other activities regularly. It has gradually become a selling and displaying venue assembling Macao fashion design and attracted visitors from various regions.
Anim’Arte NAM VAN
Jointly managed by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Sports Bureau, the Macao Government Tourism Office and Institute for Tourism Studies, “Anim’Arte NAM VAN” was inaugurated in 2016, which transforms Nam Van Lakeside Plaza into a waterfront leisure hub with a distinct character combining creativity, leisure and dining. The project aims to provide residents and tourists with diverse tourism experience, thereby enhancing Macao’s cultural tourism products offerings.
In order to foster the creative environment and beautifies the facilities in Anim’Arte NAM VAN, the Cultural Affairs Bureau has been inviting local and foreign artists to exhibit creative works in the Anim’Arte NAM VAN graffiti display area by forging further collaborations with different artists.
Nam Van C-Shop
Nam Van C-Shop started operation since 2012, being a platform to the promote, demonstrates and sell local original products, to create condition necessary for industry cluster and integrated marketing. The Cultural Affairs Bureau invites entities to operate in C-Shop through public tender and Cloé Jewelry Concept Store starting operation since 2021, selling local original jewelry, and incorporating coffee element into the store, creating a distinctive original jewelry concept store.
Publication, Archive, Libraries and Reading Promotion Scheme
The Cultural Affairs Bureau continues to publish books and periodicals related to local literature, history and art, such as “Review of Culture”, “Macao Culture Collection”, meanwhile, the Bureau organizes various academic activities such as Masters of Culture, seminars on the culture of “One Belt, One Road”. In addition, the Bureau participates book exhibitions with local entities, to actively promote local publications and build up cultural brand of Macao.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) launches its Online Book Shop in September 2020 in order to facilitate the selection and the purchase of the IC's publications with ease by readers from Macao and abroad via the Internet, thus promotes reading among the public and explores sales channels, the IC has published around 350 publications for online purchase. The book shop adopts the Express Mail Service (EMS) of the Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau to mail publications to overseas readers; while readers in Macao can choose among 14 public libraries under IC (Macao Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane) to self pick up their orders.
The Macao Archives is the master archive in Macao. The archive is mainly responsible for collecting, organising, safekeeping and protecting Macao documents of historical value and providing access to them for the general public. The archive currently houses more than 60,000 archive files, 70,000 images, 10,000 books and journals. The media are mostly in paper format. Other formats include photographs, slides, sound tapes, discs, and objects. The main language of the files is Portuguese. The earliest file can be traced back to the year 1630. The Archives receives records from the public services as well as records donated by organizations and individuals in the community. The Archives' website provides access to full text version of records and documentation which are integrated into an online catalogue.
Founded in 1895, the Macao Public Library is under the auspices of the Department of Public Library Management, Cultural Affairs Bureau. Comprising 16 public libraries, one Western language library, and the Macao ISBN Agency, it houses a collection of over one million books and multimedia items, including books, 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.
The libraries organize free reading promoting activities such as seminars, workshops, reading club, lectures, exhibitions and outreach promotions, according to the collections and atmosphere of the libraries, by which encouraging residents to utilize book resources, enriches cultural life of residents, foster the connection between residents and community, promotes the resources and services of the libraries, and hence nurtures the interest to reading of residents of different age. In order to foster the cultural interaction between cities in the Greater Bay area, promote and utilize the cultural resources of Guangdong and Macao, strengthen the cooperation between libraries, Macao Public Library and public libraries in Greater Bay Area jointly organizes cultural exhibitions and reading activities, aiming to enhance the attractiveness and contagiousness of reading-for-all activities, to promote the initiative of reading in the Greater Bay Area.
Established in 1989, the Macao Conservatory is a subsidiary of the Cultural Affairs Bureau. It comprises the Schools of Dance, Music and Theatre, and is a formal public institution that nurtures local performing arts talents. With a motto of “Respect art; adore aesthetics; be learned; and be dedicated” and a mission of “Emphasising professionalism and popularisation; integrating arts and life”, the conservatory implements a dual-track policy of providing both professional and general arts education. By offering the public a range of systematic, regular, and continuous arts education programmes in dance, music and theatre, the conservatory promotes cultivation of humanity values among the general public; while by establishing a music curriculum for secondary schools, it nurtures knowledgeable and creative performing arts talents.
Cultural Ambassador Programme
The “Cultural Ambassador Programme”, which consists of the “Seed Project” and the “Endorsement Project”, is launched by the Cultural Affairs Bureau close by all social levels through various means, in order to enhance the participants’ knowledge on Chinese tradition and local culture and their sense of pride and belonging. The cultural ambassadors will take the mission of promoting Macao’s cultural knowledge and humanistic concepts, actively disseminating and promoting the culture of Macao. The “Mascot Design Contest” is a pilot project of the “Cultural Ambassadors Programme”. The winning design will become the mascot of the Programme and promote the image of “cultural Macao” with the cultural ambassadors.
Applicants of the Programme are residents aged 18 or above, who are art lovers and passionate about cultural promotion and transmission. After finishing the training programmes, candidates can merge the content of training programme, together with their own interest, specialty, experience and public influence, to promote and establish the cultural image of Macao through ”Pilot Porgramme”, including guided tours, flashmob, immersive interactive theatre, to practice cultural dissemination and transmission, and at the same time enhance the residents’ understanding of Macao and Chinese traditions. By completing the training programme, candidates will become Cultural Ambassadors, applying what they have learnt and experienced into their daily lives and the cultural dissemination programmes thereafter, to fulfill the mission of “Passing on the light of Culture”
Cultural Transmission Month
IC organizes Cultural Transmission Month in order to enhance the residents’ understanding towards the concept of cultural transmission, and encourages more residents to take part in cultural transmission and dissemination. IC takes the initiative to enlighten the public of cultural transmission by holding highlight events and activities, to reach out to the community, connect lives and experience culture in daily lives, all sectors of the community are welcomed to participate, and enjoy the cultural journey.
Youth Internship Programme at Palace Museum
IC organizes Youth Internship Programme at Palace Museum jointly wih Home Affairs Bureau of Hong Kong SAR and Guangdong Youth Federation since 2018, 16 Macao tertiary students studying in the Mainland, Macao or oversea are selected to have a 6-week-internship together with youths from Hong Kong and Guangdong at the Palace Museum. The internship mainly includes working experience at different sections of the national first-grade museum, visiting special exhibition as well as non-visiting area of the Palace Museum and the cultural destinations of Beijing, as well as taking part in cultural experience. The internship provides a commendable learning experience to the youth of Macao, to nurture their professional skills and acquiring working experience, and to be part of the sustainable development of the local culture, making positive contribution to the exchange and cooperation between the youth of Greater Bay Area.
The programme has met with a favourable response since its launch, the interns have better understanding on the deep-rooted culture of the Palace Museum and the immensity of the Chinese culture as well as the significance of cultural transmission.
‘Macao Young Musicians Competition’ (CJMM, the 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 to encourage participants to discover their musical potential, help them explore professional development in music and possibly embark on a musical career.
Macao Cultural Heritage training and practice programme “Little Little Docent”
Macao Cultural Heritage training programme “Little Little Docent” is launched between July and August since 2016, to promote world heritage of Macao for the youth, allow them to learn the history and significance of the world heritage of Macao, knowledge on protection, and encourage the youth to explore the history of Macao and pass down Chinese culture. In 2017, Macao Cultural Heritage practice programme “Little Little Docent” was further developed which allows the little docents to apply the knowledge of world heritage and docent skills, to provide docent service to local residents and visitors and fulfill the mission of cultural transmission and dissemination.
Launched in 2016, the Busking Programme allows Buskers to showcase their art talents via street performance at designated areas, and provide more platforms to demonstrate their creative skills, at the same time to introduce domestic and overseas quality street performances, and revitalize the community and create cultural atmosphere.
Performances in the sphere of the Insightful Cultural Excursion in the Inner Harbour Area and Taipa
To engage the local residents with art, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR organised “Performances in the sphere of the Insightful Cultural Excursion program in the Inner Harbour Area and Taipa”. The programme exuded a series of performing arts taken place at Barra Square, Feiro de Carmo and Taipa Houses Museum. While the performances at Barra Square focus on Chinese music and Chinese traditional performances, those at Feiro de Carmo and Taipa Houses Museum feature on intangible cultural heritage, music, dances and characteristic performances of Portuguese speaking countries, there are also booths and interactive sessions during the peroformances, connecting different forms of art with the community. The IC jointly organizes environmental theatre with local art organisations at the Taipa Houses area, aiming a connecting community stories and exploring community history, the series includes dancing, guided tours, theatre, puppet shows, etc.
Guided tour “Look inside the Pictures - Insightful Cultural Excursion in the Harbour” is a parent-child activity, which allows participants to visit Inner Harbour, Praia Grande, Macao Museum and Macao Museum of Art with professional docents, highlighting on the exhibits about Inner Harbour and Praia Grande of the two museums. The IC also showcases murals along Innher Harbour to Barra area, Nam Kwong Warehouse as well as outdoor art installation in Taipa.
This aimed to connect different forms of art with the general public and community, including artistic cultural performance, murals and art installations, so as to infuse diverse cultural elements into the old districts.
Exhibition and Performance Facilities
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.
Art and Cultural Space Releasing Programme
The Art and Cultural Space Releasing Programme was launched in 2019 to make active response to public’s needs on art and cultural space. By integrating and increasing the functions of the cultural facilities, IC is opening up more art and cultural space to the public, currently there are 20 facilities, providing a total of 51 space to meet the need of local organizations and individuals, for performance, rehearsal, exhibition and integrated purposes.
Cultural Information Platform
The official websites of the Cultural Affairs Bureau provides 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 the cultural facilities. Furthermore, the Cultural Affairs Bureau has established the Macao Heritage Net and Macao World Heritage Net provide information of the cultural heritage and World Heritage of Macao; the Macao Cultural and Creative Industries Website to 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. In order to convey cultural related information more conveniently, the Cultural Affairs Bureau launched different social media platform such as Official Weibo account, Facebook page “IC Art”, Instagram page “artmacao” as well as youtube channel “IC Macao”.
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 activities 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 or follow the FaceBook page of Trend on Macau Sport for All.
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.
International Regatta is the first international regatta hosted by Macao. Located in the Pearl River Delta and faces the South China Sea, Macao is rich in water resources and has good conditions for the development of water sports. The regatta boosted sports exchanges among the cities of Greater Bay Area, and provided an interactive platform for learning from high-level international sailing teams. Through hosting the regatta, the organizers are looking to nurture marine sports in Macao, to enrich local sport events, and to support the work in consolidating Macao as the “World Centre of Tourism and Leisure”.
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 attracts an increasing number of participants.
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.
In order to promote 3x3 basketball development in Macao and encourage sport interaction with other cities in the Greater Bay Area, so as to drive the growth of sports and tourism industry, FIBA 3X3 Macao Masters - Greater Bay Area Qualifying Tournament is held for first time in 2021, the competitions will be held in major tourist spots in Macao. The FIBA 3x3 masters tournament is the most prestigious event in 3x3 organised by FIBA. The qualifying tournaments is held in Macao for the first time in 2021, it will be opened up to the 11 cities in the Greater Bay Area, providing over 200 quotas for registration, the winning team will earn a spot at FIBA 3×3 Masters.
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, which is one of the sport activities with the most participants. The race course has been examined and certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) since 1990. It attracts hundreds of long-distance runners from around the world to participate and the number of participants reaches 12,000 in recent years. The picturesque race course goes through the downtown, as well as the Historic Center of Macao and renowned landmark of Macao, so the participants can experience the unique scenery of the past and present of Macao.
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 booking of facilities.
Athlete Training and Development Centre
The Athlete Training and Development Centre has put into operation to foster the long term development of athletic sports in Macao. The centre is Macao’s first training base, which integrates three main areas of “Training”, “Accommodation” and “Athletic medication”, the centre comprises a training area of over 20,000 square metres, as well as two multi-function sports pavilions, a five-storey training centre, a multifunctional gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool, providing professional and ideal training environment for athletes, with flexibility to fit the needs of different training purposes, helping the athletes to attain higher level.
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.