Bamboo has long been used in Macao’s construction industry, primarily as scaffolding. But as this eco-friendly material gradually gets replaced by steel, there are people fighting for its inclusion in a wider range of building activities.
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For almost two decades, the Macao Heritage Ambassadors Association has been convincing visitors that there’s more to this city than integrated resorts. The group also reminds locals that what is here is precious.
From simple Chinese fishing vessels to the grand galleons sailed by Portuguese traders, Macao’s waters once brimmed with boats. Now, the best place to see them is inside the city’s ship-shaped museum.
Ben Rongen was there when a crew of marine archeologists recovered a massive haul of 17th-century ‘kraak ware’ from the bottom of the South China Sea. He’s been upcycling this imperfect treasure ever since – crafting jewellery out of shipwrecked ceramics.
In the early 20th century, a devout Buddhist and his reformist friends ran a college for women. The archives amassed during this time – at Kong Tac Lam Temple – has just been awarded special new status by UNESCO.
Can you truly understand a place without knowing its past? Meet the people keeping Macao’s fascinating history alive.
Throughout these sometimes rocky centuries, Macao has provided a base for the two countries’ diplomatic and trade relations.
19th-century Macao was a heady destination for the international elite; a place where Chinese silks met French Champagne, Cantonese opera met Mozart, exotic creatures could be purchased as pets, and the vibrant sim-sungs offered daily music and opium-infused relaxation.
Historian Ivo Carneiro de Sousa recalls the Dutch East India Company’s attempts to conquer Macao and control trade routes in Southeast Asia, how the battle took place and how the event was recalled by the Dutch, the Jesuits and the Dominican Friars.
Five simple 100-year-old houses in Taipa tell a hugely important part of the Macao story. The daily way of life of previous generations is kept alive to enrich the knowledge of locals and visitors alike.