Attraction 163 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau Published on: 10-10-2016
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Why Leal Senado (Municipal Council) is special ?
Leal Senado is the centrepiece of the square (and the city). It's a white washed building with wooden, green windows, wrought iron balconies and flowers hung across its façade. Built in 1784, the building was where the Portuguese plotted their conquest of Asia. It wasn’t to be, and today the building houses the Mayor’s Office and a public library.
The name Leal Senado means Loyal Senate, a name bestowed on the building when constructed, thanks to the Macau administrations refusal to recognise Spain’s occupation of Portugal in the 17th century.You can still see the loyal inscription added to the entrance hall at the bequest of King Joao IV. Also worth seeing are the quintessentially Portuguese, blue, mosaic tiles that line the staircase leading up to the library.
What to explore at Leal Senado (Municipal Council)?
The “Leal Senado” Building is neoclassical in design and has retained all its original master walls and primary layout, including the courtyard garden in the back. The main façade is 14.5 metres high and 44 metres wide and is divided into three sections by vertical granite projections. The central section of the main façade juts out slightly from the rest of the building and is topped by a triangular pediment which, at its highest point, is 17 metres above the ground. Granite Doric columns, supporting lintels made of the same material, flank the main entrance rench windows in granite casings opening onto balconies with iron railings are the main decorative features of the façade. Inside the building on the first floor there is a ceremonial meeting room that opens onto an elaborate carved library styled after the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal, and a small chapel.
- Lovely place to visit
- Impressive architecture and interesting history
- A haven from the crowds in Largo do Senado
- “Impressive architecture and interesting history”
- Beautiful oasis in the middle of a busy city
163 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
Tips for you
The Leal Senado Building is just across from the famous Senado Square on on Ave. Almeida Ribeiro. This is nice place to pass by if you want to see the World Heritage attractions in Macau. At Leal Senado, there are regularly small concert performances being played in the entry hall, while the gallery rooms offer nice (free) exhibitions which change out frequently. There is now a small gift shop on the ground floor as well if you want to buy a Macau World Heritage souvenir. The entry hall, stairway and inner courtyard are quite decorative during the holidays and festival times of the year. There are a couple of nice busts, flower arrangements and small European style wall statue which make the courtyard quite nice to see. What we enjoy seeing are the blue and white Portuguese style wall tiles found throughout the staircase area and inner courtyard. These are quite attractive scenes, many which demonstrate a nice blend of 'eastern' and 'western' culture while others offer map perspectives of Macau during the bygone colonial era. In the end, we rate the Leal Senado Building due to the variety of interesting things you can see here, the ability to visit rather quickly and comfortably and because of the regularly changing exhibitions that found here, meaning there is always something new to discover. Plus, the entire building is free to visit.
One of the major tourists spots and a nice resting/gathering places, located in the middle of the city and close to many other attractions, undoubtedly often packed with people.
We are growing to like the Leal Senado building more and more as a member of the World Heritage collection known as the Historic Centre of Macau. While not one of the more famous or high priority stops, we do enjoy the inner courtyard found here as well as the exhibition room, which is usually featuring heritage or cultural displays and artifacts.The upstairs courtyard garden resembles something from the Mediterraneaninstead of the China coast. There is a decent but small fountain, busts of historical Portuguese poets Joao de Deus and Luis Vazde Camoes, a nice area planted with orchids and many traditional blue and white tiled scenes within the garden area as well as along the staircase leading into the garden. This area is well decorated during holiday festivities as well.Unfortunately, the most highly famed inclusion of the Leal Senado building, being the elaborately carved library styled after the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal, is not presently available for visits. We are hoping this changes in the future.During this particular visit to the Leal Senado building we visited the room featuring the exhibition on the history of 'Ave. de Almeida Riberio' which we thought was quite good. We enjoyed the interesting pictures of early street scenes in the second room as well as the old brochures for Hotel Central and other paraphernalia pertaining to the history of this important avenue in Macau. This was a nice way to spend 15 minutes while visiting the Senado Square area.Overall, not a critical attraction to visit when wanting to see the World Heritage attractions in this area of Macau but a nice stop to make to see the upstairs courtyard garden and to see what is on display in the exhibition room. No more than 15-20 minutes are required to visit the Leal Senado attraction.
We went inside the building almost by accident. We wanted to find a place to rest awhile, since there aren't too many places to sit on Senate Square (Largo do Senado). Inside the building is cool and quiet. We found several people, but compared to the crowd outside, the building almost seemed deserted. There was an ongoing art exhibit in the galleries right off the front lobby. But it was the interior plaza that charmed me the most. We went up the stairs, lured by the lovely blue and white tiles lining the walls and we came into a small indoor circular plaza that was very tranquil and very scenic with its bushes and statues. It was very very beautiful even with the many guests resting on its many benches.We got to rest here for a few minutes, but then we found out why it wasn't too crowded. The security guard allows guests to rest for a while, but after a few minutes would remind them to get up... perhaps to make room for other visitors. We didn't mind, though. :)
The courtyard is a wonderful place to relax. There are tiles on the walls of how Macau used to look. This area is kept nice to entertain dignitaries.