Macau. Beyond Camões Sq

There is quite a lot to see to the north and to the east from the Camões Garden (about which I write in “Macau. Around the Camões Square”).

PATANE and SAM PA MUN

The neighborhood immediately to the north of the Garden, just behind it and adjacent to it, is called Patane 沙梨頭.

If you happen to stray here, check out the Tou Tei Temple on an elevated platform at the foot of the hillock where the Camões Garden is located. In order to distinguish it from another shrine sharing the same name and found not far away (“at Sam Pa Mun”,which I will mention in a minute), it is sometimes referred to as “Tou Tei Temple at Patane” 沙梨頭土地廟. Next to the titular “Land God,” guardian spirit of locality, other deities are worshipped here too, including God of Medicine, Goddess of Mount Li, Kun Iam (Guanyin) and the Buddha. At the back of the complex there are stairs that lead up to the Camões Garden.

Patane was once a village that was near the city walls of Macau. The city gate close to the Protestant Cemetery (that I describe in the Camões Square post) was called San António Gate by the Portuguese and Sam Pa Mun 三巴門 by the Chinese. This name is now reflected in the name of the other Land God temple: Tou Tei Temple at Sam Pa Mun 三巴門土地廟.

Now, I have a problem with this one. In many sources, especially the English-language ones, such as internet maps and printed tourist materials, this name belongs to a very small, opened shrine on the corner of Rua Coelho do Amaral and Rua do Patane. There is not enough space for a person to stand inside this little structure. The characters on the board that hang here are 福德祠 (“Blessing and Virtue Shrine”). But when I was walking up Rua do Patane, which runs south to north along the garden hill, I stumbled upon yet another votive building. It is small, but still bigger than that streetcorner one. You can actually get inside and there is even a back room. Some Chinese inscriptions inside clearly suggest this place is dedicated to the Land God (土地公), although there is also a God of Wealth (財王) figurine standing here. I couldn’t find any information about this place both in the internet and the printed materials. But some Chinese internet maps suggest that this is the actual “Tou Tei Temple at Sam Pa Mun” I was looking for! Google Maps have both though, the small one bears this name written with English and the bigger one with Chinese characters… The two are 100 meters from each other. Are they two separate temples? If so, which one is the proper „Tou Tei Temple at Sam Pa Mun?” Or maybe they are two separate halls of the same temple, but unusually separated?

The small thing at the crn of R. Coelho do Amaral and R. do Patane:

The bigger thing 100 meters away (to the north) on R. do Patane:

If anyone could explain it to me, I would be very glad.

SAN KIO

The area couple of blocks to the east from the Camões Garden is called San Kio 新橋. It means “new bridge.” The bridge it takes name from was constructed on the Lotus Stream (Lin Kai蓮溪), a river which was filled up so houses and roads can be constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. What you can find in what the area of the former San Kio village is today, include the San Kio Garden 新橋花園 and Cinema Alegria, the oldest movie theater in Macau.

A few steps away from them you will find the Lin Kai Temple 蓮溪新廟, one of the biggest and most beautiful ones in Macau. There are several different Chinese deities worshipped here (Pak Tai, Money God, 60 personifications of Tai Sui, Monkey King, the list is really long…). The original temple was constructed around 1830 on the right bank of the Lotus Stream. A typhoon destroyed it in 1874 and it had to be rebuilt. That’s why the Chinese name is actually “Lotus Stream New Temple.” A second-hand market is held in front of the temple on weekends. I’ve read that it turnes into a snack nightmarket in the evening – I must remember and revisit to grab some food on such occasion. Even better to be here on the 28th day of the ninth lunar month, when festivities take place to celebrate Ua Kuong (Huaguang) 華光, one of the Taoist Four Guardian Marshals and also a patron of performance arts.

There is another pretty temple in San Kio. It is called Seak Kam Dong Hang Toi 石敢當行臺 and it was built between 1894 and 1902 to house an evil spirit-exorcising stone tablet that has stood on this site even earlier.


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