St Paul's Ruins

Weather :

Timings : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Ruins of St Paul, Macau Overview

Standing adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macao Museum, St Paul's Ruins are the ruins of an old church, in the form of a front granite facade and grand stone staircase of 68 steps. Arguably, one of Macao’s most renowned landmarks, this structure continues to captivate the visitors till date even after centuries of being built originally. Probably one of the most treasured icons in the city, St Paul's Ruins tells the tale of standing the test and ravages of time, of disaster and narrating the stories of Macao’s unique roots.

Listed in 2005 as a UNESCO world heritage site, these ruins are rich in their history and symbolic features which calls to the curious minds. They were served an unfortunate destiny with three fires bringing them down but they did not fail to stand tall nevertheless and educate the people of what they represented and will continue to do so. Every piece of carving and structural detail was made with meaningful thoughts which can be seen through its implications. In the city of Macau, the Ruins of St Paul's adds high cultural and historic value on top of providing an amazing spot to enjoy the portraits of the city’s beauty.

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Structure of the Ruined Church

Before it was destroyed during the fires, St Paul's was a very beautiful church onlooking the city of Macao. The structure and designing have been interpreted to showcase a mix of east and west where both the Chinese and Japanese craftsmen and artisans worked together and were involved in the decoration of the 27 meters tall facade which although seems to topple but were girded with steel.

Perched on top of the facade is a dove encompassed by the engravings of the moon, sun and stars which are supposed to be a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Beneath it is a Jesus statue surrounded by implications of the crucifixion. The architecture has been made in a way to include various Chinese and Japanese representations in the form of lions, dragon, chrysanthemums, bronze statues and a Portuguese ship. A museum was also built behind the St Paul's Ruins in 1995. In today’s time, the facade serves the symbolical function of being the altar to the city of Macao. 

St Paul's Ruins
Steps leading to the ruins of St Paul (Source)

History

Initially reconstructed from 1602 to 1640 after being caught in a fire in 1595, the Ruins of St Paul's was the brainchild of Jesuit Priests for the purpose of spreading Catholicism as a religion and culture among the people, to help the illiterate understand the spirit of saints and the passion of Jesus. At the time of its construction, it was the largest church in all of Asia and its location of being perched atop a hill was meant to signify the triumph of the Roman Catholic Church via the opulent and ornate design of the buildings. It included the St. Paul’s College and the church of St. Paul. What you see now in the remains is all that was left when the city experienced a typhoon and caught fire for the third time.

Monte Fort

Lying to the east of the St. Paul’s ruins, the Monte Fort is the oldest fort in Macau which was intended to defend the St. Paul’s Church from the plunders of pirates. It later became a military fort having 4 cannons, which though function-less now, still stand. It is shaped like a 4 sided structure (quadrilateral) with a circumference of about 100 meters and is surrounded by bastions.

This fort contained part of main buildings such as storehouses, barracks, and cisterns. During the fire that wreaked havoc on St Paul's Ruins, the building of the fort was also destroyed. However, the fort area is still famous among tourists and natives alike because it is a great vantage point to view the serenity and vista of the city as well as the charming landscapes beyond the fort region.

Tips

  • The roads to this attraction make for a beautiful pathway, so prefer walking till here to enjoy the scenic views. 
  • If opting to walk, make sure to wear comfortable and durable walking shoes.

How To Reach St Paul's Ruins

The easiest method to reach the Ruins of St Paul's is to hop on any of the public buses- 8A, 18A, 18B, 18, 19 and 26 to reach the Cameos Square from where one can walk to the ruins. 

Another convenient but more pricey option would be to hail a cab from anywhere in the city and ask to be dropped off at the St. Paul’s Ruins.

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