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Ruins of St. Paul's

Ruins of St. Paul's in Macau are marvelous sample of the Catholic history of this former Portuguese colony. The greatest among the churches in Macau, the Macau St. Paul Cathedral is illustrious for its architecture and religious importance. Patronized by the colonial masters, this prime spot on your Macau sightseeing tour is undoubtedly the best example of the sundry culture of Macau.

Ruins of St Paul’s, Macau Attractions, Macau Travel GuideBuilt in 1582, this greatest of churches in Macau was inaugurated as an educational college, Jesuit College of St. Paul's, the first Western college in the Far East where missionaries such as Matteo Ricci and Adam Schall studied Chinese before serving at the Ming Court in Beijing as astronomers and mathematicians. Macau St. Paul Cathedral built of wood, was vividly adorned and furnished, according to early traveler chronicles. The holy church was designed by a Father of Italian nationality and was constructed with the help of the Japanese technology of superlative craftsmanship. The foundation was laid in 1602 and it was completed in 1637. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, the college was used as an army barracks and in 1835 a fire started in the kitchens and destroyed the college and the body of the church, leaving only the façade, the staircase and portions of a wall. At that time, the architecture of St Paul's Church mixed together the style of the European Renaissance period and that of eastern architecture with a good continuation of the Chinese and western elements and fine workmanship of carving. The surviving facade rose in 4 colonnaded tiers, and is covered with carvings and statues which eloquently illustrate the early days of the Church in Asia. There are statues of the Virgin and saints, symbols of the Garden of Eden and the Crucifixion, angels and the devil, a Chinese dragon and a Japanese chrysanthemum, a Portuguese sailing ship and pious warnings inscribed in Chinese.

After renovation completed in 1995, a Museum of Sacred Art was built behind the ruins housing paintings, sculptures and religious relics. The ruins are regarded as the symbol of Macau and now offer visitors a new site where they can view the remains of the former Church of the Mother of God, visit a Crypt where the relics of the Martyrs of Japan and Vietnam rest, and a museum of Sacred Art where there are exhibits of paintings, sculptures and liturgical objects from churches and monasteries in the City.

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