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The ruins of the epic Church of St. Paul

The facade of the Church of St. Paul has become one of the symbols of Macau, even if it is all that remains of this Jesuit church, which was built in the early 17th centrury. However many people consider the remaining portals, engravings and other parts to be the greatest monument to Christianity in Asia. The church was designed by an Italian Jesuit and built by Japanese Christian exiles and Chinese craftsmen. It was completed in 1602. The Church was abandoned after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1762 and a military battalion was stationed here. In 1835 a fire erupted in the kitchen of the barracks, destroying everything but the facade, the impressive stone steps leading to it and the magnificent mosaic floor. The renovation works were completed in 1995.

Inside the ruins there is a Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, which was opened in the chancel of the Church of St. Paul to the north-west of the facade in 1996 after archaeological excavations had been completed. To the east of the museum is the Church crypt, which now contains the remains of the Japanese Christian martysts as well as those of Vietnamese. 

Monte Fort

Monte Fort is located on a hill just next to the ruins of the Church of St. Paul. It was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626 as part of the College of the Mother of God. Today there are a few canons on display, which were actually fired only once  - during the aborted attempt to invade Macau by teh Dutch on 24th June 1622. Besides the cannons, the Macau Museum is located inside the Fort. The first level, called the Genesis of Macau, takes you through the early history of the territory. On the second level you will see and hear everything from a recreated firecracker factory and the recorded cries of street vendors, to the poets reading in Macanese dialects. The third (top) level illustrates "Contemporary Macau".

 

Largo do Senado

Largo do Senado is a centre of Macau, which is famous with its black-and-white cobbles and its breathtakingly beautiful colonial buildings. The square and its buildings are beautifuly illuminated at night. North-east of the Largo do Senado you can find the Church of St.Dominic, on the southern part of the square is located the Santa Casa da Misericordia - the home for orphans and prostitues in the 18th century, east of Largo do Senado there is the Macau Cathedral.

 

 

Church of St. Dominic

This church is an example of baroque architecture, which is located north east of the Largo do Senado. It is a 17th-century replacement of a chapel built by the Dominicans in the 1590sī. The church has an impressive multi-tiered altar with images of Our Lady of the Rosary flanked by St. Dominict and St. Catherine of Sienna.

 

 

 

 

Church of St. Augustine

The Church of St. Augustine was founded in 1586, however the present church was built in 1814. The high altar contains a statue of Christ bearing the cross, which is carried through the streets during the Procession of Our Lord of Passion on the first Sunday of Lent.

 

 

 

 

 

Church of St. Lawrence

This church is considered the most fashionable church in Macau. The original church was built of wood in the 1560s and was eventually reconstructed in stone in the early 19th century. It is said, that the towers of the church once served as a ecclesiastical prison. If you come inside, you will definitely admire the wonderful painted ceiling.

 

 

 

Government House

Government House is a pillared, rose-coloured building. Originally built for a Portuguese noble in 1849, the building was acquired by the government at the end of the 19th century and is now headquarters of various branches of the Macau SAR government, including the Secretariat for Security.

 

 

 

Macau Tower

Next to the ruins of the Church of St. Paul, Macau Tower is the other symbol of Macau. The tall structure is 339m high and it supposed to be the eight-tallest such structure in the world. You can go inside - in 45 s you will be taken to the the observation decks and see the surrounding - if you are lucky and it is a clear day.

 

 

 

 

A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple is also known as "Ma Kok Miu" in Chinese. It is dedicated to the goddess A-Ma, who is better known as Tin Hau. The origianl temple on this site was probably already standing when the Portuguese arrived, although the present one may only date back to the 17th century. The temple is built into the foot of a hill and is made up of warren of prayer halls and pavilions, some dedicated to A-Ma and other to Kun Iam. Behind the temple is a climbing network of small gardens. The peaceful feeling from the entire temple is lost as soon as you enter the first hall. Inside the temple are turtles living in a very bad conditions, some of them even dying from the toxic substances releasing from the coins and small banknotes which the peple throw inside the tanks with turtles usually trying to hit their head.

 

Guia Fort and Lighthouse

The fortress built in 1638 atop Guia Hill, the highest point of Macau, was originally designed to defend the border with China, but it soon came into its own as a lookout post and storm warning were sounded from the bell in the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia. The wall of the little church have interesting drawings, and there is a colourful choir loft above the main entrance. The best view on the Lighthouse and the Chapel is from Monte Fort at night.

 

 

Chapel of Our Lady of Penha

Chapel of Our Lady of Penha is located on Penha Hill. Actually you would be surprised, but everything what it is, is an ugly cement block of a church built on the site of a 17th century church in 1935.

 

 

 

 

 

Lou Lim loc Garden

This garden was once a property of a rich Chinese businessman Lou Kau. The gardens are a mixture of European and Chinese plants, with huge shade trees, lotus ponds, bamboo groves, grottos and a bridge with nine turns. The ornamental mountains and stones, are built to suggest a Chinese painting and are modelled on those in the famous gardens of Suzhou. Inside the garden is located Lou Lim loc Garden Pavilion, which is in the centre of the pond and connected to the mainland by little bridges. It is used for temporary exhibitions. If you walk through the Garden in late evening or at night, you can see many chessplayer arguing about their game.

 

Taipa Village

This village to the south of the island has somehow managed to retain its storybook charm. It is a tidy sprawl of traditional Chinese shops and some excellent restaurants. Down along what was once seafront and now is artificial lake is Avenida da Praia, a tree-lined explanade with wrought-iron benches. The five green coloured villas facing the water were built in 1921 by wealthy Macanese as summer residences and collectively form the Taipa House Museum. If you go upstairs on the wentern end of Avenida da Praia, you reach the Church of Our Lady of Carmel, which was built in 1885. A few minutes from the Church is located 170 years old Tin Hau Temple.

Tips and Suggestions: The Ruins of the Church of St. Paul are worth seeing during the daylight as well as at night. You might be  surprised by the behavior of some tourists (especially the Asian ones) in the Crypt, who didnīt show any respect to the remains of martysts speaking very loudly and throwing some papers in the holy area. The worst experience was our visit of A-Ma Temple. At first sight peaceful temple actually hides pretty nasty tableau. Inside you can find many turtles living in very poor conditions. Macanese  have probably special fun from hitting the heads of the turtle by a coin.  

 

  Source: Information about the history from Lonely Planet