Discover Chinese history and culture

Discover Chinese history and culture
INTRICATE: A model of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in Beijing's Temple of Heaven, which is among the world's largest religious ceremonial complexes.

Macau has not only great food, but also sights to take in, many of which are steeped in heritage and culture.

To get a peek into the techniques used to construct many of China's buildings from as far back as the 1300s, head down to casino resort MGM Macau for the Red Sandalwood Art Exhibition of Old Beijing City Gates.

The exhibition, on until March 22, features miniature models of the old Beijing city gates, including the Yongding Gate, built during the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty.

Other models include that of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in Beijing's Temple of Heaven, which is among the world's largest religious ceremonial complexes.

The models were built at a scale of 1:10, using ancient architecture techniques that do not use any nails in the construction process, with every single pattern and detail on the models intricately hand-carved.

The exhibition also sheds light on the origins and heritage of red sandalwood, which is extremely rare due to the trees' slow growth of one inch every 100 years after they reach maturity.

Launched in November, the exhibition commemorates the 15th anniversary of Macau's handover to China, and is co-hosted with the China Red Sandalwood Museum.

Pansy Ho, co-chairman and executive director of MGM China Holdings, said the collaboration with the museum aims to connect people through art and culture.

The art gallery featuring the sandalwood exhibition is open to the public from 12pm to 9pm, from Tuesdays to Sundays.

Macau - which was recently listed as one of the top 10 regions to visit this year by Lonely Planet - has other sights that will interest culture and history buffs as well.

Visitors can choose from eight walking trails recommended by the Macau Government Tourist Office, including the Footsteps into the Historic Centre, and Crossroads of China and Portugal trails.

The Crossroads of China and Portugal trail takes you to eight heritage sites, including A-Ma Temple, the Maritime Museum and the Mandarin's House.

The Mandarin's House is the former residence of Zheng Guanying, a famous reformer of late Qing China in the 1800s, and was a luxurious property with 60 rooms.

But when his family moved out between the 1950s and 1960s, it was rented out and, at one point, housed 300 people.

"There were chickens running around the courtyard, and even washing machines outside," said Carla Figueiredo, an architect at the Cultural Heritage Department of the Cultural Institute of Macau.

This caused severe damage to the structure and foundation of the house, added Ms Figueiredo, and many aspects of the house were changed.

It took nine years of restoration work to restore the Mandarin's House to its present state.

Other heritage sites - like the Ah-Ma Temple, built in 1488 - have also undergone similar conservation works. The temple remains a shrine for many devotees of Taoism and Buddhism from around the world.

samboh@sph.com.sg

MGM MACAU
Address:Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, Nape
Phone:+853-8802-8888

THE MANDARIN'S HOUSE
Address: 10 Travessa de Antonio da Silva
Phone:+853-2896-8820

Get more details on the tours at http://bit.ly/1kP5ri3

 


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