iSee Our Lady of Carmel Church

Yellow church and love garden high on the hilltop

Our Lady Carmel

The bright yellow ‘Our Lady Carmel’ church perched high on a hilltop was clearly built to impress. It was one of the first buildings that the Portuguese built when they started to settle in the indigenous fishing village of Taipa, in 1885, to protect the local villages from the pirates. The Portuguese gradually expanded their presence on the high lands around the church with a school, garden and living quarters for the soldiers and civil servants. They also created an enclave entirely separated from the local Chinese community.

A love garden

A path winds down from the church down the hillside to Carmel Gardens laid out in typical Portuguese landscape design. In the early days it was a very popular recreational area. There was even a small zoo inside the garden.

During Spring Festival the church hangs couplets, adding traditional Chinese elements to the Western-style church, which may be the characteristic of the fusion of Chinese and Western in Macao.

Lucky tears

Placed prominently in the garden is a statue of Portugal’s national poet Luis Vaz de Camoes. Inscribed is one of his famous poems ‘Os Lusiada’ (royal love) which he composed in the 14th century. There are more signs of love. At the bottom of the garden is a stone angel and next to it a tablet with the text: ‘Fontes dos Amore’ (tears of love). In the old days, local villagers would come to collect the ‘pouring tears’ from the Fontes dos Amores. It believed it would bring luck and love to their homes.

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