Macau. Coloane Mountain
At 172 meters, the Coloane Peak (Alto de Coloane, 疊石塘山) is the highest point of both Coloane island and whole Macau. On the top there is a religious / tourist complex known as A-Ma Cultural Village 媽祖文化村. It consists of a temple and a huge statue of Mazu, the goddess of seafarers. The easiest way to get there is to first go to a built up area around Estrada de Seac Pai Van. This street has been named after the bay (石排灣) that separated Taipa and Coloane before the land was reclaimed and named Cotai. Dozens of tall residential buildings have mushroomed here in recent years, together with shops and small parks. In the green area called Seac Pai Van Park (石排灣郊野公園), there is an agricultural museum and a small zoo. If you are not planning to visit Sichuan, it is not a bad idea to see China’s national animal here, in Macao Giant Panda Pavilion. Especially that it is not crowded at all.
The Natural and Agrarian Museum (Museu Natural e Agrário, 土地暨自然博物館) is small but interesting. Don’t be surprised by the theme – this area was once a farmland. The infoboards detail the rural life and agricultural traditions of the region, as well as local species of plants and animals.
The road that leads to the mountaintop is just next to the park. There is a special ornamental gate that will assure you that this is the A-Ma Cultural Village you are looking for. From here you can take the free bus to the top (every half an hour). Consider to walk though. It’s neither far nor steep and it gives you the feeling of “conquering” the highest point of Macau.
Tianhou Palace 天后宫 is a large temple. It is brand new and reminded me more of the huge monasteries found throughout Mainland China rather than of the tiny shrines which charred walls characteristic to Hong Kong and Macau. Tin Hau 天后, “Celestial Empress”, is one of the titles conferred to Mazu 媽祖, also known as A-Ma 媽閣. You may be familiar with the latter name because of the temple in Macau included in the UNESCO World Heritage zone of the city. Originally a real person, Lin Moniang 林默娘 lived in 10th century in Fujian and was a shamaness. According to legends, she used magical powers to save her brothers from being drowned during a typhoon. She is now revered in both Taoist and Buddhist temples, mostly in coastal areas, as a patron goddess of sailors and fishermen.
After visiting the temple I headed towards the white Mazu statue. It is the tallest depiction of the “Celestial Empress” in the world.
The views from the top of the mountain are pretty nice. I was able to see places that I already know quite well, like the Hac Sa beach near to which I camped during three separate visits. Feels like home now.
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