When in Macau, after satisfying one’s thirst and inclination for gambling and exhausting bulk of travel money in casinos, most tourists spend their evenings at Largo Do Senado or the Senado Square or, if you want to be very correct, Senate Square. Goes without saying that the seat of Macau government was in the building nearby called by a very official sounding name Edificio do Leal Sendao (the Loyal Senate Building).
Not only the tourists, I guess, a lot of Macanese too spend their time here. It is a hangout place!
While nearing the square we did not have to be told which way to go. You just follow the crowd. On entering the square from Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro you are treated to a large tiled area in wavy pattern and a fountain to go with it. Looking at innocuous fountain, one could not imagine the violence that marked its birth.
Macau was a Portuguese settlement for almost 400 years , out of which the last 100 or so years under Portugal rule. In the decade of the 1960s a small building dispute involving the Chinese in Taipa flared into a riot at this very place , due to mis-handling by the Portuguese.
The rioters broke the statue of Colonel Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita , right in front of Leal Senado along with demonstrations and riots elsewhere. This marked the beginning of the end of Portuguese rule of Macau. This fountain was then erected at the place of the statue.
There are a lot of eateries, gifts and souvenir shops, Fashion outlets, Jewelry shops and so on. You can also find the Macanese special cookies and dried meat shops around here as elsewhere.
We will probably write a full post dedicated to the Gold Shops.
We were a bit late so gave the Leal Building a skip and walked on, digesting the views. There was a narrow alley full of plants and the windows full of flowers. This was a veritable Photo-Op spot as throngs of people wanted to have their pictures taken here. Of course no one was going beyond a few steps that made us want to go right till the end. It was a dead end and a bust of the first bishop of Macau D Belchior Carneiro , during the 16th century, was erected there. I mean the bust is much newer; the bishop lived in the 16th century.
The buildings on both sides of the paved walkway, bore distinct European features. At the other end is the Spanish St. Dominic’s Church, which converts itself as one of the venues for the annual International music festival in October – November. We are also told that during Macanese and Chinese festivals, the Largo comes to life with various cultural events and fireworks and it becomes much more crowded than what it was now.
It is said that Largo do Senado has been a central meeting point for citizens for centuries now and the whole area is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
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