Leal Senado Building

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This article is about the building. For the organization known as the Leal Senado, see Municipal Council of Macau.
Leal Senado Building
Macao Edificio do Leal Senado.jpg
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 民政總署大樓
Portuguese name
Portuguese Edifício do Leal Senado

The Leal Senado Building (Portuguese for Loyal Senate) was the seat of Macau's government (Legislative Assembly of Macau and Municipal Council of Macau) during its time as a Portuguese colony. It is located at one end of the Senado Square. The title was bestowed on Macau's government in 1810 by Portugal's Prince Regent João, who later became King John VI of Portugal. This was a reward for Macau's loyalty to Portugal, which refused to recognise Spain’s sovereignty during the Philippine Dynasty that it occupied Portugal,which was between 1580 and 1640.A plaque ordered by the king commemorating this can still be seen inside the entrance hall.

History[edit]

A Chinese-style Pavilion used to stand on the site of Leal Senado building.That building was then a meeting place for the Portuguese and the Chinese officials,and where the Ming dynasty government would announce regulations to Macau.The Portuguese planned to buy in the pavilion as early as 1583, as well as some Chinese houses behind it. However,it wasn't until 1784 that the Portuguese government finally purchased it at a price of 80,000 taels .

The Leal Senado building itself was erected afterwards,The building became centre of Macau's politics ever since.Portuguese rallies and celebrations were also held here. Although built in 1784,it was in a style similar to Plain style from 14th to 15th Century Portugal than the Pombaline style that was popular at the time when the Leal Senado was built.A number of institutions were affiliated to the building, including a museum of Luís Vaz de Camões,a post office,a court and a prison,yet all had moved elsewhere.

The building was severely damaged by a typhoon in 1874, it underwent major renovation work in 1876. In 1887 the building's roof was repaired.It was completely refurbished in 1904.In 1936 the building was damaged again by another typhoon,restoration work began in 1938 and was completed in 1940.[1]

After the handover of Macau to China in 1999 it became the headquarters of the Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs (Portuguese: Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais).

It became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau in 2005.

Features[edit]

The building is U-shaped.It main facade is 14.5 metres high and 44 metres wide and is divided into 3 sections by vertical granite projections.The central section of the main facade juts out slightly from the rest of the building and is topped by a triangular pediment 17 metres high.The right part of the first floor of the building features an exhibition hall,hosting art exhibitions on a regular basis.The convention hall is on the second floor,where the public meetings and press conferences of the former Macau Municipal Council and the current Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs are held .A public library,opened in 1929, is located at the Northwestern part of the first floor.It is blueprinted after the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal,decorated in classical style. It has a collection of some 18,500 books and specialises in collecting foreign language books in dating from 17th century to the 1950s,in particular those of Portuguese history in Africa and the far East. The building has retained all its original master walls and primary layout, including the courtyard garden in the back.[2]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Shipp, Steve: Macau, China: A Political History of the Portuguese Colony's Transition to Chinese Rule

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°11′36″N 113°32′22″E / 22.19333°N 113.53944°E / 22.19333; 113.53944