Luís de Camões Park is near the St. Anthony’s Church, the Casa Garden, neighboring Protestant Cemetery; is located in front of the Park. It is one of the historic parks in Macau too, covering an area total of 20,000 square meters. Built in the middle of the eighteenth century and was originally the park villa from one of the wealthy Portuguese businessman consultant, Manuel Pereira; Included in the World Cultural Heritage listed in 2005 as one of the eight ancient squares.
Original Eighteenth century villa
A few years later, Manuel Pereira leased to the British East India Company as their office in Macau. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the East India Company ended its operations. The descendants of the Pereira family became the owners of the property again. One of their gentleman Marques who inherited this garden admired Portuguese poet Luís de Camões very much. He ordered a bronze bust, abutment and a stone stele inscribed “Os Lusíadas” with poems in a cave made of three large stones.
This statue later replaced by a bronze statue cast, namely Manuel Maria Bordalo Pinheiro, which still remained in the cave today. On the front of the stone pedestal of the bust, the poems of the first, second, and third; verses of the first canto of “Os Lusíadas” has inscribed; Chinese translation engraved at the back. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the original mansion all converted into the Luís de Camões Museum; which resold as an office by Fundação Oriente in the 1990s.
(Article briefs extracted from the introductory version of the Municipal Affairs Office in Luís de Camões Park)
Why is it called Luís de Camões Park?
The Luís de Camões Park got its name from its origins. This place as said owned by a wealthy Portuguese businessman Manuel Pereira; A garden villa built in Macau in the 18th century. This person has a son-in-law Marques who likes to raise white pigeons. He raised a large number of white pigeons in this two-story villa with South European Architectural Characteristics. Every time the pigeons soon released, everyone sees a flock of white pigeons flying in the sky and staying in the air; The villa got the name “White Pigeon Nest Garden”.
Perfect Chinese and Western Building Combined
The neighboring Luís de Camões Park, owned the earliest Portuguese Residential area founded in Macau; it also claimed as residential area for Chinese and many other nationalities currently. In addition to the old-style tenement buildings, there are also Casa Garden, namely Fundação Oriente, St. Anthony’s Church, Ruin St. Paul’s, and other Chinese temples worth seeing around. The proximity of different restaurants and the exchange of other countries’ food culture also considered as the main intersection point within Camões Park. Both historical scenary and food selections are indispensable. After eating, it is worth spending several hours to see all these various cultural landmarks; also checking out nearby is also one of the incredible activities to do in Macau.
Birds and Floral Sceneries
There also found a nursery farm in Camões Park, with an area of 4,500 square meters. In those days, British businessmen not only engaged in business only, but also loved different landscape art designs. Over thousands miles away sent a group of horticultural experts from London beautifying such beautiful place between end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. They utilised the garden collecting various foreign plant species breeds, and transferred them to the “Royal Botanical Garden, Kew”; located at the Western suburbs of London, England. At present, many precious trees in the park grown from species left by British merchants, so this is one of the parks in Macau with the most ancient big trees.
Ancient tree species include Mock Bodh Tree (Ficus rumphii), Persimmon-leaved Litsea (Litsea monopetala), Jambolan Plum (Syzygium cumini), Karnikar (Pterospermum heterophyllum), Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) and Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa). The Breadfruit Tree (Artocarpus altilis), the square facing the park entrance is the first of its species planted in Macao. (Website reference: Luís de Camões Park – Nature (iam.gov.mo))
Heading towards the north side of the park, you will probably reach an artificial waterfall on the left hand side, close to the entrance. Built in 1990, this waterfall is designed using two sets of naturally overlapping rocks. And forward is the recreation area in front of the Luís de Camões Park, where there fromed lots of neighborhoods and elderly people in their leisure time.
The Carved Statue at the Entrance
When entering the park, towering old banyan trees stand tall, revealing the appearance of the old garden. In the center of the fountain not far away, an artistic sculpture named “Embrace” wsa erected. This sculpture created by female sculptor Irene Vilar in 1996.
Epic “Os Lusíadas” – The Soul of Portugal
Around the sculpture and on the pavement along the stairs leading to the caves of Camões; there are huge number of Portuguese cobblestones made in special patterns; figures with the theme of the Portuguese theme epic ““Os Lusíadas”. The pattern was based on Lima de Freitas by Jorge Estrela. Master’s drawing arrangement. Walking up along the tortuous jungle path, you will arrive at the Camões Cave. According to legendary studies explained, the greatest Portuguese poet Luís de Camões (1524-1580), wrote part of his masterpiece “Os Lusíadas” in a grotto of the park villa back then.
The epic “Os Lusíadas”: taken from the introduction version of the municipal office in the Camões Park; in the next article, described in detail.
After passing the grotto stones, you can reach the highest point of the park, “The Observatory Deck”. This deck originally built in 17th century by the French geographer and explorer; Mons. Jean Franis de Galaup, Count de la Perouse. During his fleet mooring, he assisted facilitating astronomical researches. From the top of the observatory deck, you can see the entire Macau landscapes and the entire appearance of the Camões Park. It was such a spectacular spot; a good place to take pictures.
There is a two-story building with southern European architectural features next to the Camões Park. This is the original site of the Camões Museum and is now the site of Fundação Oriente, namely the Casa Garden. In order to show respect and commemoration to the poet, a grand memorial ceremony held for the poet on June 10 each year.
In addition, the Christian cemetery is also here. Many foreigners who came from the far west buried in this cemetery; some of them were famous figures, such as the famous painter Chinnery.
In the winding jungle trails, you can also find some famous tombs erected in within; including the famous painter George Chinnery (1774-1852), and the missionary Robert Morrison; claimed who translated the Bible into Chinese (1782-1834). In 1815, Macau’s first Christian cemetery also appeared as part of the property.
Luís de Camões Museum
The second park library donated by Mr. Huang Yingjun, an overseas Chinese in Peru; that time built and open prior Macau’s handover. The library now divided into two floors; The upper floor owned a children’s library; and the lower floor is a mass reading book, newspapers and magazines, area with a total collection of about 20,000 books.
New Kid’s playground
In front of the library, a children’s playground and fountain implemented to make the park’s facilities more complete.
Portrait of Saint Kim Dae-geon
Going further down, you will see a statue of the saint Kim Dae-geon (1821-1846). This statue presented itself to the Diocese of Macau by the Korean Episcopal Church in 1986. He studied in Macau from 1837 to 1842 and was the first South Korean. His footprints are closely related to one of the World Heritage Churches, The St Anthony’s. His portrait set in the church for worships. Nowadays, many of his followers uses their home made Korean food worship this saint as an appreciation.
Temple Tou Tei do Patane
It is worth mentioning later the small hill where the Camões Park is located as Phoenix Mountain; Since the Qing Dynasty, the hills have been planted with poinciana trees. Every spring and summer, the phoenix flowers were blooming in red and blossoming, making up the entire park in its own beauties. Going down a ramp at the top of the hill is the Tou Tei Temple, which has its important historical value. Later, we will conduct in-depth discussions with details, in a different perspectives, to share their stories.
The Camões Park not only stand of its own historical significance; but also creating full of exotic local customs and quiet, peaceful environment. It has resulted hundred years of cultural exchanges between China and the West. It is a must-visit tourist attraction in Macau.