Senate Square, Macau Overview

Senado Square in Macau, China is a paved public square connecting Largo do Sao Domingos at one end and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro on the other. Also known as the Senate Square, the triangular-shaped square is part of the Historic Center of Macau in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

One of the four largest squares in Macau, Senado Square is lined with shopping centres and traditional Chinese restaurants. The colourful pastel buildings and the surrounding structures like Leal Senado Building and the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral add to the quintessential Macanese experience. On special occasions like Chinese New Year and Christmas, the Senate Square comes alive with lion and dragon dance, fireworks and many activities. 

It is generally crowded with domestic Chinese travellers, especially on weekends. However, its numerous alleys and off-shoots are great to explore.

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Attractions at Senado Square

The UNESCO World Heritage List for the Historic Center of Macau mentions about 20 buildings and plazas, out of which 3 buildings of note are located in the Senado Square- Leal Senado, Holy House of Mercy and St. Dominic’s Church. Other significant buildings include the old Post Office.

Leal Senado Building- This building is the original municipal chamber of Macau, a function it holds to this day. Its imposing neoclassical design and white walls and pillars serve to underline its centrality in the square.
Holy House of Mercy- Today, this building serves as a museum, chronicling the city’s vast history. Featuring a decorative facade, the building which has been established since 1569 is takes up a prominent position in the square.
St. Dominic’s Church- Founded in 1587, the church is one of the most popular churches in Macau to this day.
General Post Office- Senado Square is bordered by the General Post Office of Macau on one end. Built in 1929, this three-storey fully functioning post office is a landmark of the square.

History of Senate Square

Before the 21st century, Senado Square used to be the center of government of the Portuguese colony of Macau. It used to be the ground for the reviewing of troops by the local Portuguese authorities. In the center of the square is a fountain built by the Chinese. This fountain was actually built to replace a statue of a Portuguese soldier named Mesquita, responsible for many Chinese deaths during Portuguese hostilities with the Qing dynasty, originally built in the 1940s.

Eventually, Macau came to embrace its colonial past and in the 1990s, Portuguese experts were called in to create the now-famous pavements of Senado Square with a mosaic of colourful stones. The buildings around the square, like the Leal Senado Building, are part of the long-standing history of the city and are well preserved to protect the history of the square.

How to Reach Senado Square

Bus: Travellers looking to use the pubic buses can take bus 3X, 3, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, or N1A to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro.

Shuttle: Another option is the free shuttles from Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and Taipa Ferry Terminal to Grand Lisboa from where the Senate Square is just a short walk away.

Need to Know

  • To avoid crowds, visit sites like the Ruins of St. Paul's in the early mornings.
  • There are many interesting Chinese herbal shops near St. Dominic's Church for those interested in quality and variety of local Chinese products.

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