Ruins of St. Paul's Church
Jesuit priests have travelled to the Far East to spread Catholicism in the past, and the construction of Ruins of St. Paul’s Church from 1602 to 1640 is one of the results of this era. This is Macau’s captivating landmark that is found at the top of a hill, and at that time, it was known as the “Vatican of the Far East.” Before it became as ruins, the place originally has St. Paul’s College and the Portugese church dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle called as Church of St. Paul or “Mater Dei.”
Even if the site could only offer the remains of the old church to its visitors, it still reminds them about Macau’s unique history. The grand details of the church is the symbol of the Roman Catholic Church’s triumph in spreading the religion. Originally made of wood, its original structure was burned down back in 1835 due to a fire during a typhoon.
Carlo Spinola, an Italian Jesuit, was believed by historians to be the one responsible for the church’s great design. For the decorations, Chinese and Japanese artists and craftsmen were behind the façade’s decoration, and Japanese Christians built it.
The granite façade and 68-stone-steps grand staircase are the only sights you will see here. Still, it is fascinating to go here and see its design that has a mix of the East and West, which is like Macau itself as a diverse country. Also, a dove surrounded by stone carvings of the sun, moon, and stars is placed at the top, serving as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the ruins, you will see both European and Asian influences through Chinese characters and lions, Japanese chrysanthemums, Portuguese ship and statues, crucifixion stone carvings, among others.
This widely considered “altar to the city” is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of the Historic Centre of Macau.