From Largo de Leal Senado Square, we crossed Almeida Ribeiro Ave. to the Neo-Classical Leal Senado Building, now the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau.  Originally built in 1784 , this building was Macau’s first municipal chamber, a function it maintains to the present.  Severely damaged by a typhoon in 1874, it  underwent major renovation work in 1876. In 1887, the building’s roof was repaired and, in 1904, the building underwent extensive renovation, adapting it to more functional uses.  In 1936, it was again damaged by a typhoon and restoration work began in 1938 and was completed in 1940.

Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (Leal Senado Building)

The Leal Senado Building has retained all its original master walls and primary layout, including the courtyard garden in the back. The main facade is 14.5 m. high and 44 m. wide and is divided into 3 sections by vertical granite projections. The central section of the main façade juts out slightly from the rest of the building and is topped by a triangular pediment which, at its highest point, is 17 m. above the ground. Granite Doric columns, supporting lintels made of the same material, flank the main entrance.

Some of the Leal Senado Building’s Row of Windows

The building’s rows of windows, in simple Renaissance style with granite casings and following a repetitive rhythmic pattern, are the the main architectural element and decorative feature of the completely symmetrical facade.  In the middle section, there are 3 French windows on the first floor, opening out to balconies with iron railings.

The Leal Senado Building’s Courtyard

Inside the first floor of this U-shaped building, its arms turning away from Almeida Ribeiro Ave., are a spacious lobby used for public exhibitions, a reception area, a ceremonial meeting room that opens onto an elaborate carved library (styled after the library of Mafra Convent in Portugal) and a small chapel.

The Courtyard Fountain with 2 Heads

Walls covered with blue and white Portuguese ceramic tiles, a most distinctive feature rarely found in other buildings in Macao, flank the granite staircase, the central axis of the building. The building is painted white which enhances the dark green color of the window frames and the main entrance door.