The charming hub of Macau for centuries, open only to pedestrians and paved in shiny black-and-white tiles, is lined with neoclassical-style colonial buildings painted in bright pastels. The Edifício do Leal Senado (Senate Building) that gives the square its name was built in 1784 as a municipal chamber and continues to be used by the government today. An elegant meeting room on the first floor opens onto a magnificent library based on one in the Mafra Convent
in Portugal, with books neatly stacked on two levels of shelves reaching to the ceiling, and art and historical exhibitions are frequently hosted in the beautiful foyer and garden. Alleys adjacent to the square are packed with restaurants and shops. Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds, and try to come back at night, when locals of all ages gather to chat and the square is beautifully lit.