Govt to install lightning protection system for Ruins of St. Paul’s: IC

2024-06-26 04:01
BY Ginnie Liang

Cultural Heritage Council Acting President and Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Leong Wai Man said yesterday that a lightning protection system needs to be installed on the  UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ruins of St. Paul’s, adding that the bureau will explore options on how to deal with lightning in cooperation with the nation’s heritage conservation entities such as the National Cultural Heritage Administration, after a small stone fell from the façade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s during a thunderstorm on June 12.

Leong made the remarks during a press conference after a regular closed-door meeting of the government-appointed Cultural Heritage Committee at the Macau Cultural Centre in Nape, adding that the bureau will organise the installation while minimising the project’s impact on tourists.

Leong said that the bureau’s preliminary view is that the incident was caused by lightning that struck the second tier of the iconostasis niche on the top of the façade of the monument, pointing that the stone was “probably” repair material used when the niche was restored years ago.

When asked why the bureau only made a statement two weeks after the incident, Leong said that it took time to investigate the whole incident, including collecting data on the surrounding environment, conducting a close-up and detailed inspection of the frontage, as well as combining data obtained from the Macau World Heritage Monitoring Centre.

She also pointed out that after the initial inspection, it was confirmed that there was no loose structure on the façade of the Ruins of St Paul’s, which is why the listed monument re-opened the day after the inspection.

The Catholic Church of St. Paul, aka Mater Dei (“Mother of God”), built in 1637-40, was the first Western-style higher education institution in China. A fire in 1835 destroyed most of St Paul’s College and the Church of the Mother of God, leaving only the church’s façade, foundations and stone steps intact. It was listed by Paris-based UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2005.

Govt to replace 3 statues in Ka Ho

In addition, Leong said during yesterday’s press conference that the government is planning to replace three statues at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in the hamlet of Nossa Senhora (“Our Lady”) in Coloane’s Ka Ho settlement, so as to better convey the area’s history and culture.

Leong said that the Cultural Affairs Bureau has confirmed that the three statues have been damaged by heavy rain and strong wind over the years and have cracked and crumbled, so they are disintegrating.

Besides, the Cultural Development Fund launched the first round of its programme providing subsidies for owners of private buildings that are officially listed as a cultural heritage site from 28 March to 27 May, in order to encourage owners to carry out regular structural inspections or testing, exterior maintenance, as well as necessary restoration and maintenance work on privately-owned architecturally and culturally significant heritage buildings.

Leong pointed out that seven applications have been received, which will be sent to the bureau for technical analysis. 

Cultural Heritage Council Acting President and Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Leong Wai Man looks on during yesterday’s press conference after the Cultural Heritage Committee’s regular meeting at the Macau Cultural Centre.


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