Ruinas de Sao Paulo - History and Facts | History Hit

Ruinas de Sao Paulo

Santo Antonio, Macau, China

Ruinas de Sao Paulo are the dramatic remains of a seventeenth century Jesuit church.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Ruinas de Sao Paulo

Ruinas de Sao Paulo are the remains of a Jesuit cathedral built in Macau in 1602. The Jesuits were expelled from Macau in the eighteenth century, after which the church was used as an army barracks.

Ruinas de Sao Paulo history

The Ruinas de Sao Paolo in Macau is an icon of the city. The Ruinas de Sao Paolo are the remains of St. Paul’s Cathedral and an ecclesiastical college that once stood on the site. The original complex was destroyed by fire in 1835 following a powerful typhoon.

Only the magnificent, towering facade, with its intricate carvings and bronze statues, remains from the original church. The sanctuary, an adjacent college, and Mount Fortress all Jesuit constructions once formed East Asia’s first western-style university.

The stone façade was designed to five layers. The first layer or the top is a triangle Doorcase decoration; the second layer is carved with a Jesus stone figure; the 3rd layer shows the “Virgin Holy Days” scene; the 4th layer is consecrated four saints; “MATER DEI” is carved on the lintel of the main door of the 5th layer.The Ruins of St. Paul’s was officially listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Historic Centre of Macau.  Behind Ruinas de Sao Paulo is now a museum about the Jesuits as well as a crypt housing relics from the church.

Ruinas de Sao Paulo today

Today, all that remains of this church are the historic Ruinas de Sao Paulo, which comprise of just the beautifully ornate façade and the stairs leading up to it.

Now a tourist attraction, the ruins are the widely adopted symbol of Macau. Snack bars and shops are clustered at the foot of the site. Tucked behind the facade of São Paulo is the small Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, which contains statues, crucifixes, and the bones of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs.

The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was built at the bottom of the Ruins of St. Paul’s and is home to many religious artifacts and works, including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes, as well as a 17th century painting of St. Michael Archangel – the only surviving work from the original college. Admission to the museum is free between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm every day.

Getting to Ruinas de Sao Paulo

The site is located in the central area of Macau’s administrative region. There are a variety of public buses that stop nearby or visitors could choose to take a taxi.

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