A holiday in Macau takes a lot of money even if you are not losing big in one of the numerous casinos that Macau is famous for. Hotels are expensive, food is expensive, and shopping is very expensive. Local travel by taxi can also prove to be expensive but fortunately there are cheaper and even totally free options for local travel, like the free casino shuttle buses. When in Macau, I use free shuttle buses extensively and try to save money on food but somehow I always feel that I do not have enough money there. I guess many of my fellow travellers feel the same way. Perhaps one reason for this is the undue risks that we take while gambling in the casinos thereby ending up being short of money. After a lot of struggle in the past, I have now come to believe that I can feel happier while in Macau if I keep my focus on the things other than gambling. In this pursuit, the Macau Tourism's "Step Out" Guide has proved to be a great help to me. Its a guide perhaps meant for local residents of Macau whom the government wants to step out and see their city or it is perhaps for the tourists who do not just want to come out of casinos. Anyway, its a guide book that suggests walking tours of Macau on eight different routes. I discovered Mandarin's House while trying out one such walking tour - Crossroads of China and Portugal. You can read more about this guide here, but let us talk about the Mandarin's House here. Keep reading...
|Mandarin's House Macau|
Casa Do Mandarim
Mandarin's house is an erstwhile residence. I can use my own words to tell you about this place but the helpful write-up about it on display outside the house says it all very beautifully. Here it goes:
"The construction date of the Mandarin's House can be traced back as early as 1969. This is the family home of prominent Chinese literary figure Zheng Guanying (1842 - 1921), whose works on the opening of the economic markets influenced Emperor Guangxu, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, and Mao Tse Tung, promoting major historic changes in China. The construction of the Mandarin's House was initiated by Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying. The house covers an area of about 4000 square meters. The complex is made up of various buildings, including an entrance gatehouse, courtyards, servants' and master's quarters, extending more than 120 meters alongside Barra Street. The buildings are predominantly Chinese in style with subtle western influences in the decorative motifs, also marking a period in Macau when Chinese architecture started to display a fusion of style from different cultures. In the main buildings, the placement of the main living room on the upper floor shows an unconventional planning approach, rare in the layout of traditional Chinese residential dwellings. Chinese architectural tectonics can be observed in the house superstructure, the choice of building materials, the colorful relief ornamentation of the friezes and the detailing of doors. Western and other influences are expressed on the plaster work of arched ornamentation over doorways and windows, decorative stucco on false ceilings and the use of mother of pearl window panels, a technique that is also common in India".
|A Garden Inside Mandarin's House Macau|
This fusion of techniques or cultures may seem impressive while reading but is mind blowing when seen in reality. I did see several bonsai trees and many prominent signs of Chinese culture in the house, but then it could have been the house of a family from any other country. The peaceful atmosphere of the property provides a stunning contrast to the crowds and noise of the Ruins of St. Paul's.
|The Main Hall of Mandarin's House Macau|
There are small and useful write-ups kept in many places throughout the house giving information about the exhibits, identifying the plants or the other works of art on display. One gets to walk through almost the entire house on the two floors except for a few rooms that are kept locked. The old wooden furniture, wooden staircases, and the gardens all succeed in inspiring one's imagination on how peacefully and happily a family could have lived in this house. Its a not to be missed attraction of Macau.
|Old Office Table in Mandarin's House Macau|
Entry Fee And Timings
Entry to the house is free. According to the information on display there it requires a small registration formality but nobody was asking anyone to register. The house is open for public everyday except Wednesday from 10.00am to 6.00pm. Last entry is allowed at 5.30pm. The house can be seen as part of the walking tour - Crossroads of China and Portugal or otherwise it can be reached on foot from the Senado Square. It will be a short 10 minute walk from there. The entire walking tour is supposed to take 24 minutes except for the time that you spend inside attractions en route. Need more guidance, get a hold of the two most useful Macau Tourist Maps.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|