Visiting the Kuan Iam Ecumenical Center, Macau (FREE)
Kuan Iam (Guanyin) is the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, venerated both as a Buddhist bodhisattva and a Taoist immortal. One of Macau’s most iconic sites is the 20m tall bronze statue of Kuan Iam that stands just off of the shore at the southern end of Macau Peninsula, looking back serenely across the busy city.
Kuan Iam is a symbol of harmony, love, peace, and mercy; a beloved figure throughout Asia.
The Kuan Iam Ecumenical Center is part religious statue, part cultural center, part museum, and part art installation. Designed by Portuguese artist Cristina Rocha Leiria in 1999, the center was built during the handover of Macau from Portugal to China, and was designed to be a celebration of the unity of East and West.
The statue of Kuan Iam herself was designed specifically to have ethnically-neutral features, and the center, built under the patronage of UNESCO, is a celebration of “mutual respect and friendship among all peoples and civilizations” (according to their website).
It is free to visit the Kuan Iam Ecumenical Center. Inside, there is a small bookshop, a meditation area, a small museum about the construction of the statue, and a library. There is also free wifi!
Every aspect of the statue, from the lotus-shaped base to the fresco murals that cover the domed ceiling, are symbolic of the architect’s purpose to encourage unity.
On a clear day (which it was not when we visited!), the statue offers great views to the Macau islands, and has a few benches where you can sit and enjoy the harbor.
Kuan Iam Ecumenical Center, Macau - Hours and Location
Open from 10:00am - 6:00pm (closed Friday)
Located at Avenida de Sun Yat-sen (Bus stop nearby)