Moorish Barracks

Moorish Barracks, Calcada da Barra, Macau


The Moorish Barracks

Once the station of Indian soldiers from Goa who were here in Macau in pre-19th century, this building is now the home of the Macau Maritime Administration. This building is exceptional for its architectural features, being the only Gothic and Arabic inspired structure in the region. Much of Macau bears the designs of historic Portuguese architecture and Chinese temples and architectural remnants, amidst modern casino architectural wonders. As far as historical architecture goes this building truly stands out from the rest in the area because of its unique design, the work of the Italian architect Cassuto. In modern times, it is still the office of the Macau Maritime Administration, but guests can enjoy the architecture from the Veranda which is open to the public to observe and take in.

Photo credit to Netsonfong assumed (based on copyright claims). – CC BY-SA 3.0, Image Source

Chinese name: 港務局大樓
Opening time: 09:00-18:00
Bus Routes Nearby: No.1, 1A, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 21, 21A, 28B, 34
Admission fee: free

*You are only free to wander around the veranda.

History of the Moorish Barracks

The Moorish Barracks was built circa 1874 and designed by an Italian in a neoclassical style inspired Moorish architecture. It was meant to accommodate Muslim Indian policemen from Goa. There was confusion of Muslims with Moors due to the fact that ancient Cantonese refers to Indians as “Moh Loh Cha”. “Moh Loh” is a transliteration of ‘Moorish’. You cannot enter the building unfortunately, as it is now occupied by the Macau Maritime Administration. However, the view from outside is enough to make it a worthy site if you happen to pass by. It is listed by the Historic Center of Macau for its historical value as a symbol of Portuguese and Asian Cultures in Macau.

Architecture of the Moorish Barracks

The Moorish Barracks was once the barracks of Indian Soldiers from Goa who were stationed in Macau. The building is an architectural masterpiece in it’s own right. Rather than a European style seen frequently throughout the Portuguese influenced region, this building shows a blend of Arabian and Gothic architectural styles. Since the beginning of the 19th century is has been appointed the official building of the Macau Port Authority. The architect of this building was the Italian Cassuto.

The large veranda is the likely the most visually appealing aspect of the building (and the only part tourists are allowed to enter) depicting Islamic styles in its columns and lattice windows. Dozens of yellow ivory pillars set between pointed arches affront floral pattern decorated barriers. The building is constructed of brick and stone, and measures 67.5 meters long by 37 meters wide on a granite platform elevated from the street. This structure is two stories in the center with the surrounding structure a single story. The entire building is enclosed by a veranda 4 meters wide on three sides of the structure. The veranda is supported by the aforementioned pillars between pointed archers allowing guests to enjoy the outside scenery which only adds to the beauty of the structure. All but the granite pedestals at street level are painted a gorgeous yellow adorned with white floral patterns that accentuate the style and taste of the structure’s architectural elegance. It is truly one of a kind in this region for its design.

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