By Luciana Leitão

This article could be about the Holy House of Mercy building, but it’s not. It’s about Travessa da Misericórdia, which is the side street surrounding the lateral part of the building.

Since I arrived, the goal of any resident of the territory is to escape Leal Senado, considering the hordes of tourists passing by every day, every hour, every minute. But what has always amazed me is the quietness of Travessa da Misericórdia, right next to the insanely touristic square. Of course there are some tourists, occasionally there, usually taking pictures, but very few. And most of the times they don’t go across it, they just stay at the beginning of the street, to have their picture taken.

Yet, Travessa da Misericórdia’s charm is more than simply its quietness. It’s a small secondary street that holds a couple of secrets.

Holy House of Mercy itself is a beautiful while building, included in the world heritage site list of Macau. The main façade has an arcade richly decorated, occupying a central position at Leal Senado square. It features columns and pilasters between the the arcade, creating a corridor in the ground floor and a balcony on the upper level. It is elegant and traditional.

Travessa da Misericórdia is a small secondary street surrounding the lateral side of Holy House of Mercy’s building. You walk on Portuguese pavement and the street is quite simple and clean. There you have the door to enter Holy House of Mercy’s building, giving passage to the offices, the museum and the meeting rooms. And you also have a door giving access to the institution’s cosy cafe. The flowers decorating the street add a sense of calmness as you walk through it.

It is as if this were a secret street, which no one noticed. It is as if the street itself held secrets. And it doesn’t. It is there for everyone to see. It is right in the middle of the bustling tourism centre. Yet, it seems protected. An oasis, in the middle of the chaos.