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Ruins of St. Paul's

Ruins of St.Paul’s is the historical site of St. Paul’s Church, also known as Ruínas da Antiga Catedral de São Paulo, which is one of the most famous and symbol sites in Macau. The church was a grand one, which completed in 1637. It experienced three fire accidents in history and was destroyed in 1835. In 2005, it was included on the list of World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. It was also regarded as one of the “Eight Sights of Macau”.


History of St. Paul’s

Hundreds of years ago, with Portuguese’s invading and occupation of Macau, Catholicism was brought into Macau. The church was originally built in the 16th century but burned down afterward. In 1602, the church was rebuilt, adjoining the Jesuit College of St. Paul that was the first Western college in the Far East. The reconstruction work took for 35 years. Later, it was rebuilt several times before meeting the final fire, during a typhoon on January 26th, 1835. The last fire lasted for two hours and only the front wall was survived.


People also call the church “Great Sanba Archway”. The name “Sanba” came from the São Paulo in Portuguese. The survived front wall looks like a traditional Chinese archway, thus got that name.


The grandness of St. Paul’s

St. Paul’s Church was designed by an Italian priest, and constructed by Japanese craftsmen. The church was made of wood, with brilliant decorations. The church and its surrounding architectures had the Renaissance-style and oriental-style, focusing an integration of western and eastern culture. Both the western religious art and Chinese traditional stone carving techniques can be found from the church.


The Great Sanba Archway is 27 meters tall, 23.5 meters wide, and 2.7 meters thick. The top floor is a triangle lintel under a cross. A dove was embedded in the middle of the lintel, presenting for sacred divinity. A statue of baby Jesus Christ stood under the dove. The major figures here are the Virgin Marry, the Holy Father, Holy Saint, and Jesus Christ. The Ruins of St. Paul's has been restored during 1990 and 1995. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was built in the basement, containing many religious artworks, including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes, and a 17th-century painting of St. Michael Archangel.

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