The Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, visited Macau today (July 26), together with nine members of the Antiquities Advisory Board, to learn about the heritage conservation work in Macau.
In the morning, Mr Chan and the delegation visited St Lazarus Quarter, the Na Tcha Exhibition Hall and the Macau Ho's Clan Hall near the Ruins of St Paul's. St Lazarus Quarter is a classified ensemble in the list of Macau's cultural heritage. In the past, there was once a shelter for leprosy patients and later a residential area for the Chinese Catholics was also created, becoming known as "the circle for converts".
The Na Tcha Exhibition Hall is located next to the Na Tcha Temple, which is close to the Ruins of St Paul's. The Na Tcha Temple has been receiving Macau worshippers since it was built in 1888. The exhibition hall was created by the Cultural Affairs Bureau in 2012 to introduce the legend of Na Tcha and its festive traditions.
The Macau Ho's Clan Hall was built before the early 20th century with a unique architectural style. It was bought by the Macau Ho's Clan Association in 1953 as an office and a family shrine. The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau restored the building in 2010 and found several archaeological remains, such as walls, during the restoration. After revitalisation, the ground floor of the building will remain as a family shrine, while other areas will be opened to the public with exhibitions, as well as activities related to the cultural and creative industries.
Mr Chan and the delegation paid a visit to the Mandarin's House in the afternoon. The House, a former residence of the late-Qing Chinese philosopher Zheng Guanying, can be dated to at least to 1869 and has characteristics of traditional Guangdong-style residences. It is a rare example in Macau of a private residence of such scale, built for one family, that still remains today in the city. The Macau Government started restoring the Mandarin's House in 2002, and opened it to the public in 2010.
They then visited the Dom Pedro V Theatre and the Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. The Dom Pedro V Theatre was built in 1860, and not until 1873 were the addition works of a facade with neoclassical architectural features carried out. It was the first Western-style theatre in China and also, at the time, a venue for the Portuguese community to hold events.
The Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, originally the residence of Dona Carolina Cunha, was constructed before 1894. Sir Robert Ho Tung purchased it in 1918, using it as his villa. Following Sir Robert Ho Tung's will, the building was donated to the Macau Government for conversion into a public library, which was opened to the public in 1958.
Apart from conducting the site visits, Mr Chan and the delegation also met with the President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau, Mr Ung Vai-meng, to exchange experiences on the heritage conservation work of Macau and Hong Kong.
Accompanying Mr Chan on the visit were the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Hon Chi-keung, and the Deputy Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Albert Lam.
Ends/Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:00