Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
April 1, 2009
From journal World Heritage Macau
November 9, 2005
From journal Macau Madness
December 15, 2004
This church was constructed under the supervision of Carlo Spinola, a Jesuit from Italy. It basically replaced the Church of the Mater Dei, which was built in 1593 but was destroyed by fires in 1593 and 1602. The construction of St. Paul was completed from 1602 to 1627 by Christians exiled from Japan, along with the assistance of Chinese craftsmen. The Jesuits were booted out in 1762, and later the complex spent time as a military station. A catastrophic fire in 1835 consumed the site except for the facade and the monumental stairs.
After years of extensive restoration, the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul have become the centerpiece of a museum. Most visitors will probably arrive from the south, which will provide a most impressive initial glance at the facade. It is perched atop one of the seven hills of Macau, accessed by a long flight of stairs. One can cheat and walk up the inclined street that parallels the staircase and its adjacent strip of landscaping. After reaching the plaza level, one can admire the numerous details of the elevation. The symbolic stonework features depictions of religious figures, including the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus, St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. It is a busy frontage, but it was meant to deliver its unmistakable messages of Christianity to those who could not read.
Once can imagine what the entire church may have looked like in its glory days. Although we are left with only its frontal wall, the site does its best to hint at some of the elements of the former church without building a speculative mockup version of what had been lost. The nave is laid out on the gridded pavement, with glass display cases showing objects excavated from the grounds. A metal catwalk attached to the back of the facade stands in for the choir loft. Climb up the stairs to this level and look through the archways for some interesting views of the immediate surroundings.
Continue walking to what was the rear of the church. The crypt houses the remains of the Martyrs of Japan and Vietnam, who were Christians persecuted in the late 16th and 17th centuries. The other underground room holds the small Museum of Sacred Art, displaying an eclectic selection of paintings, statues and paraphernalia from the churches and monasteries of Macau.
There are usually hordes of tourists here, but its outdoor setting compensates for any potential feel of overcrowding. The dramatic location makes it a desirable backdrop for wedding photos. Pull to the side and relax while watching the maddening crowd take snapshots of this must-see monument of Macau.
From journal Bill in China - MACAU
New York, New York
November 8, 2000
From journal Macau, A Slice of Europe.