Classified Immovable Properties

    AM046-Moosa Houses

    Location: Macao

    Category: Buildings of architectural interest

    The Portuguese built their cities based on “straight streets” that interconnected various public spaces and contained churches, municipal authorities, spaces for commercial activities, etc. The city of Macau was also developed according to this model, with Portuguese residential neighborhoods, such as the S. Lourenço neighborhood, being established along a straight street. Rua Central, literally Central Street, in the city of Macau, as the name implies, follows the model of the straight streets. It was flanked by a wide array of shops to provide the Portuguese residing around the São Lourenço parish with daily necessities.

    The Moosa Houses, in Rua Central belonged to a Muslim family from India. For business purposes, Cassam Moosa came to Macao and opened a foreign company using the Chinese translation “架深” of his name “Cassam” as the company name. According to its advertisements, the company was founded in 1880. The two residential houses may have been constructed before the establishment of the company that occupied an important position in Macao’s business sector.

    Rua Central was for centuries one of the most prosperous commercial areas in the city. The Moosa Houses were built before 1880 and, boasting a history of over 130 years, testify to the historical evolution of Rua Central, the rooting process and the way of life of minority groups in Macao, providing a reference for research into Macao’s ethnic minorities.

    Until the 1960s and the 1970s, houses flanking Rua Central were mostly traditional two-storey or three-storey “shop houses” with no arcades – used for both commercial and residential purposes. Shops were on the ground floor while residential spaces occupied the upper floors. Today, the Moosa Houses located at No. 45-47 Rua Central are the only extant buildings that keep intact the architectural features of the old times. The Moosa House at No. 45 adopts shuttered windows in the Portuguese style on the second and third floors. The one at No. 47 displays some peculiarities. Mica windows and vase railings are applied as ornaments on the second floor,the eaves are designed with a simple Chinese wooden structural element – Dougong or wooden interlocking brackets. Such a mixture of Chinese and Western architectural styles shows how Macao has given rise to unique architectural styles under the influence of multiple cultures. Dougong, a rare sight in Macao’s “shop houses”, also reflects the combination of unique architectural styles with traditional ones. The Moosa Houses are important examples for studying Macao’s “shop houses”.

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