Taipa Village -- Crossroad of Past and Present

2009-12-01 15:08 BJT

Take a bus to the Taipa terminus...look in at the small Tin Hau Temple in the square...Opposite is a green and white neo-classical mansion that is the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History...Walk a few metres down Rua Correia da Silva and turn left into Travessa da Felicidade, continue to Rua dos Mercadores, one of a cluster of narrow streets lined with traditional Chinese shop-houses, with pastel plaster walls, wooden shutters and stucco ornamentation...at street level they contain shops, restaurants and family businesses...Stroll through Largo das Virtudes and Largo Maia de Magalhães to Rua da Cunha, which is popularly known as Food Street because of the many restaurants here and on nearby streets, serving Portuguese, Macanese, Indian, Italian, different kinds of Chinese and even African food...Cross Rua Correia da Silva and take the narrow lane on your right to the cobbled slope of Calçada do Quartel (named after the former military fort on the hilltop)...which becomes Avenida Carlos da Maia...Pass the post office and school to reach Our Lady of Carmo (a pastel and white neo-classical church built in 1885)...In front are landscaped gardens, with fountains and vine-covered bowers...Take the zigzag path, lined with scallop-shaped borders, down to Avenida da Praia (this was the waterfront for merchants and sailors when the bay - now mostly reclaimed land - was anchorage for China Clippers and Indiamen)...You will find a beautifully restored row of early 20th-century houses and an avenue of banyans and flower-covered bowers...The first building is the Macanese House (filled with reproduction period furniture and furnishings in both Chinese and European style, illustrating the life of typical Macanese at the time)...Next door is the House of the Islands (displaying maps, pictures and memorabilia from Taipa and Coloane)...then the House of the Portugal Regions (displays of costumes, musical instruments and photos)...Next is the Exhibition Gallery, with changing shows of photographs, paintings and posters...and finally the largest house is now used for meetings and receptions,which can overflow onto the praia and a small open arena...Note that the museums are closed on Monday...By now you should be hungry, so walk back up the steps and take Calçada do Carmo to Avenida Direita Carlos Eugénio...Opposite is one of the former firecracker factories that once flourished on Taipa...Ahead is Food Street!