Linkage of Vision
Department of Communication
The University of Macau
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Where have all the lanterns gone?
What's underneath the mosaic pavement?
2040: Will Macau be submerged?
Future of historic Guia Lighthouse

By Valeria Cheang

The sites of planned high rise buildings

In recent years, Macau's economy has boomed and increased a demand for high rise buildings. Macau citizens may even be unable to see at night the light from Guia Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the coast of China.

Due to the government ignorance of restricting the maximum height of buildings near Guia Hill, there is a public outcry against the development plan to construct new buildings of 135 meters high at the foot of the hill. One of the new buildings, to be occupied by the central government's liaison office in Macau, is designated to be 99.9 meters in height to symbolize Macau's 1999 handover to China. It thus is 9.9 meters higher than the Guia Hill, where the famous historic lighthouse is situated on the top. In response to the public outcry, the liaison office issued a statement saying that it will reassess the designed height of the new office building and try to keep it within the height of Guia Hill.

A campaign group of historians, architects and scholars are in preparation to take on a long fight to protect the Guia Lighthouse. The recently formed League of Guia Lighthouse Protectors is preparing a petition letter explaining the threat faced by the lighthouse to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris and the National Administration of Cultural Heritage in Beijing. It believes this is the only solution under the current situation. By doing so, they hope UNESCO will step in and urge the Macau government to halt the development plan already approved and under construction.

An online 3D video which was made by one of the architects, who prefers to be anonymous, shows the future of Outer Harbor with several tall buildings in front of Guia Lighthouse. This video has angered many Macau citizens. The architect's purpose is to let people know how the Guia Lighthouse will be blocked by the high rise buildings in the future and to call for actions from Macau citizens as well as the Macau government for preserving this historic landmark.

The Guia Lighthouse is a 15-meter tall structure which was constructed in 1864 and put into operation in 1865. It was damaged by a typhoon in the late 19th Century and had stopped to function for over 30 years until its re-opening on June 29, 1910.

Director of Macau's Historical Council Chan Su Weng, who was one of the guests in the meeting of "Preservation of Lighthouse" on February 4, said that he was invited to the meeting to explain the background history of the Guia Lighthouse.

Chan also added that the lighthouse preservation did not only mean to protect the Lighthouse, but also to protect "Macau's heritage". About 30 people attended the meeting and most of them were specialists, students, teachers and scholars. Through this meeting, more Macau citizens have acknowledged the concept of "Macau's heritage" and will continue their efforts to press the Macau government and the legislature for the Lighthouse protection.


Chan Su Weng, Director of Macau's Historical Council
Photo by Valeria Cheang
Department of Communication - University of Macau. Last Updated February 09, 2007