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Ruins of St. Paul's & Historic Centre of Macau

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.

Historic Center of Macau

Macau is not only famous for gambling, it is also a small global village where a plurality of cultures mix. Whether or not you enjoy gambling, the splendid buildings of the Historic Center of Macau will be sure to impress you.

The Historic Center of Macau preserves the earliest, largest, most concentrated and complete mixture of Chinese and foreign architectures in China. It is a spot that has borne witness to the communication and harmonious coexistence of Chinese and foreign cultures for over 400 years. In the mid 16th century, to follow the trend of multi-national trades, the government of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China opened an area in the southwest of the Macau Peninsula to foreign trade. This area was dominated by the Portuguese who both lived and traded here. Soon Macau encompassed immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and America, who brought with them their various architectures, religions, living habits, professional skills and other cultural elements. Since then Macau had not only been an international importer of foreign cultures, but also a window for foreigners to learn about China. The Historic Center of Macau is just the nucleus of this area.

The architecture in the Historical Center of Macau is the result of the combination of architectural styles of western countries after the Renaissance, other Asian countries and China itself. The area includes A-Ma Temple , the Moorish Barracks, Mandarin's House, St. Lawrence's Church, St. Joseph's Seminary and Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, St. Augustine's Church, the Leal Senado Building, the Kai Vui Kun Temple, the Holy House of Mercy, the Cathedral, Lou Kau Mansion, St. Dominic's Church, the Ruins of St. Paul's , Na Tcha Temple, a Section of the Old Walls, Mount Fortress, Macao Museum, Antony's Church, Casa Garden, the Protestant Cemetery, Guia Fortress, Guia Lighthouse and Guia Chapel, among over 20 buildings as well as Barra Square, Lilau Square, St. Augustine's Square, Senado Square, Cathedral Square, St. Dominic's Square, Dominic's Square and other squares and streets.

The Historic Center of Macau was listed in the World Heritage Directory on July 15th, 2005, which helped share its cultural wealth with the whole world, and won Macau greater international recognition.