Leal Senado


Facing Largo do Senado is Macau’s most important historical building, the 18th-century ‘Loyal Senate’, which houses the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais (IACM; Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau). It is so-named because the body sitting here refused to recognise Spain’s sovereignty during the 60 years that it occupied Portugal. In 1654, a dozen years after Portuguese sovereignty was re-established, King João IV ordered a heraldic inscription that is displayed inside the Leal Senado's entrance hall.

Inside the entrance hall is the IACM Temporary Exhibition Gallery with rotating art exhibitions. On the 1st floor is the Senate Library, which has a collection of some 19,000 books, and wonderful carved wooden furnishings and panelled walls.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Macau attractions

1. Senate Library

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Located in the Leal Senado, Macau's oldest and most lavish library is a beautiful adaptation of the 18th-century library in the Convento de Mafra outside…

2. IACM Temporary Exhibition Gallery

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This cool, dimly lit gallery just inside the entrance of the Leal Senado offers welcome respite from the heat and hectic pace of Avenida de Almeida…

3. Museum of the Holy House of Mercy

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In the heart of Largo do Senado is Macau's oldest charitable institution (c 1569). The house once sheltered orphans and prostitutes in the 17th- and 18th…

4. Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple

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Literally ‘a community hall for three streets’, this temple was a meeting place for merchants and an adjudication court, before the Chinese Chamber of…

5. Church of St Dominic


Smack in the heart of Macau's historic centre, this sunny yellow baroque church with a beautiful altar and a timber roof was founded by three Spanish…

6. Church of St Augustine

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The foundations of this church date from 1586 when it was established by Spanish Augustinians, but the present structure was built in 1814. The high altar…

7. Treasure of Sacred Art

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Northeast of Largo do Senado, the 17th-century baroque Church of St Dominic contains the Treasure of Sacred Art, an Aladdin’s cave of ecclesiastical art…

8. Lou Kau Mansion

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Built around 1889, this Cantonese-style mansion with southern European elements belonged to merchant Lou Wa Sio (aka Lou Kau), who also commissioned the…