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Macao Museum

Updated: 2008-01-18 18:00:39

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Prepared since April 1995, the construction of the Macao Museum started in September 1996. The Museum was completed and opened to the public on April 18, 1998. Built on the site of the former Weather Observatory, it was further extended to Monte Fort to become a modern three-storey museum building, with its top floor at ground level and the other two storeys hidden under ground. With extreme simplicity, the Museum emerges in perfect harmony with the ancient fortress. The Museum covers an area of 2,800 square meters, of which 2,100 square meters is for exhibition halls.

Arranged chronologically, the first floor depicts the beginnings of Macao and the arrival of Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries. Particularly interesting is the room comparing Chinese and European civilizations at the time of their encounter in the 16th century, including descriptions of their different writing systems, philosophies, and religions.

The second floor deals with the daily life and traditions of old Macao, including festivals, wedding ceremonies, and industries ranging from fishing to fireworks factories. Exhibits include paintings and photographs depicting Macao through the centuries, traditional games and toys, an explanation of cuisine and architecture of Macao, and a re-created street in Macao lined with colonial and Chinese facades and containing tea, pastry, and traditional Chinese pharmacy shops.

The top floor, the only one above ground, displays exhibits of modern Macao and its plans for the future. From here you can exit to the wall ramparts of the fort, which was built by the Jesuits about the same time as St. Paul's, and largely destroyed by the same fire.

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