The Leal Sendado (Sendado Square) replete in classical Portuguese pavement, a dizzying style of tiling that leaves wild patterns on the cityscape. The stonework is quintessentially Portuguese; in the materiality of colonialism, it marks the presence of Portugal’s imperial reach, an aesthetic marker as beautiful as it is inert, a strange but appropriate metaphor for the tenor of Portuguese colonial administration. The square is now the center of the historical district (Centro Histórico), the marker where the banks and financial buildings of downtown cede to tourist foot-traffic below the baroque colonnades of the old city.
Interestingly, the square is the site of a tacit, if not explicit, transfer of power concurrent with the shaky end of the Portuguese empire globally. In the ferver of the Cultural Revolution on the mainland, tensions between local Macanese and the colonial government spilled over into bloodshed in 1966 over the failure to issue and secure building permits for a school. Locals assembled in Sendado Square and tore down a statue to Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita; 8 people were killed and more than a 100 injured in the riots. The Macanese effectively stalled stonewalled the government by refusing to sell goods to the Portuguese, forcing the hand of the Governor. In the legal wake of the incident, governance was effectively handed over to Macanese business leaders and trade unionists; Portugal’s role until handover in 1999 would later be described only as, "a caretaker of a condominium under foreign supervision”.