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Ruins of St. Paul's

The Ruins of St. Paul's, also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik, is actually the remaining front wall of the former St. Paul's Cathedral. Apart form the arch-like wall, all that remains of the cathedral is the Monte Fort and 68 flights of steps nearby. Sam Ba Sing Tzik has become a symbol of Macau and is one of the eight excellent sceneries of the region.

St. Paul's Cathedral was originally built in 1580 and suffered two fires: the first in 1595 and the second in 1601.Cooperation between an Italian priest and Japanese artisans saw the cathedral rebuilt. Work was completed between 1637 and 1640. However, a third fire in 1835 burnt down most of the building, leaving only the present remains.

St. Paul's integrates the European baroque and oriental architectural styles and was reportedly the largest Catholic church in the Orient. The remaining Sam Ba Sing Tzik has received considerable funding. Its majestic pose and exquisite sculptures deserve significant appreciation. Divided into five layers, these basso-relievos tell the story about Christ's birth and sufferings. Topped by a cross, the first layer is designed with a bronze figure of a pigeon and stone sculptures of the Sun, the Moon and stars. The second layer has the figure of baby Christ and the tools involved in Christ's suffering. The third layer is sculptured with the figure of the Virgin Mary, the Chinese symbolic peony and the Japanese symbolic chrysanthemum. Angels, devils and other symbols also feature within the design. The sculptures of four Christian saints are enchased in the fourth layer. The bottom layer is opened with three gates: the facade inscribed in Latin 'MATER DEI' and the flanks 'IHS', referring to the Virgin Mary and Christ.

On the location of the former cathedral, the Catholic Museum of Sacred Art has been set up, where excellent paintings, sculptures and other religious artworks from various churches and seminaries of Macau are displayed.

Monte Fort used to be a part of the church and was once used by Portuguese to fight against the invasion of the Dutch. After the last fire only the fort and several old cannons remain. Within the relics Macau Museum has been built, showing the vicissitudes of Macau during these times. Monte Fort also offers a perfect spot to receive a panoramic view of the region.

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