Guia Hill & São Lazaro -- Historic Suburbs

2009-12-01 15:01 BJT

This tour begins on the highest point in Macau, Guia Hill on which stand the Guia Fort and Lighthouse (the fort was built in 1637, the lighthouse, which is still in use, in 1865, when it was the first of its kind on the China Coast)...Visit the simple, baroque chapel of Our Lady of Guia (note the ceiling where original paintings have been uncovered)...Take the steps to the old cannon platform for panoramic views of the city and surrounding seascape...There is a tourist information office and small cafe in the former guardpost...Leaving the fort turn right on Estrada do Engenheiro Trigo, a pedestrian path that circles the hill and is popular with joggers, birdwatchers and lovers...Note the exercise equipment along the trail...Ahead is the Guia Cable Car (operating 8am-6pm, the ride takes 80 seconds)...You can take it, or a series of stone steps, to Flora Garden (formerly the site of a mansion which was destroyed in a factory explosion in 1928, it contains an aviary, small zoo, botanical gardens and original fountain)...Leaving the garden, cross Avenida de Sidónio Pais...Walk two short blocks and on your right see the Memorial House of Dr Sun Yat Sen (built by his family in the 1930s, open 10am-1pm and 2:30pm-5pm, closed Tuesdays...for details see In the Footsteps of Sun Yat Sen below)...Continue a few yards, then turn right into Estrada Adolfo Loureiro...two blocks ahead is the entrance to Lou Lim Ieoc Garden (built by businessman-scholar Lou Kau in the late 19th century in the classic Suzhou style of miniature is a favourite for Chinese taichi exercising, dancing, family photos and occasional dawn to dusk)...Return a few paces to the busy Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida and go right, past a row of restored 1920s houses that now are used by the government for the Archives and Education and Health Departments...For more attractively restored neo-classical buildings turn right on Calçada de S. Lázaro (once the most fashionable part of town, with elegant mansions sporting ornate balconies, now repainted in pastel colours... Back on the main street, which now becomes Rua do Campo, you find fashion boutiques and the Plaza Cultural (containing an excellent bookshop)...Branch right onto Rua Pedro Nolasco da Silva...On your right is the neo-classical building that was once a hospital and now houses the Portuguese Consulate...The road turns into Rua de S. Domingos, leading to Largo do Senado.