The Ruins of St. Paul's refer to the facade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, destroyed by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Paul's College, which stood adjacent to the Church. As a whole, the old Church of Mater Dei, St. Paul's College and Mount Fortress were all Jesuit constructions and formed what can be perceived as the Macao's "acropolis". Close by, the archaeological remains of the old College of St. Paul stand witness to what was the first western-style university in the Far East, with an elaborate academic programme. Nowadays, the facade of the Ruins of St. Paul's functions symbolically as an altar to the city.
* The Prayer Hall of the A-Ma Temple is closed for maintenance.
Macao Museum: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., last admission until 5:30 p.m. (Closed on Mondays, open on public holidays)
Built in conjunction with the Jesuits from 1617 to 1626, this was the city's principal military defence structure. The fortress was equipped with cannons, military barracks, wells and an arsenal that held sufficient ammunition and supplies to endure a siege lasting up to two years. The fortress covers an area of 10,000 square metres, in the shape of a trapezoid. The four corners of the fortress protrude to form bulwarks.
The Macao Museum is a historical and cultural museum with a vast number of objects of great historical value, which demonstrates the way of life and cultures of the various communities which have been inhabited the city for ages.
The first floor is a short and comparative presentation of the way western and Chinese civilizations were developed before the arrival of the Portuguese in the Pearl River Delta in the 16th century. Besides, history of Macao, commercial activities, religions and cultures of the two civilizations are also displayed. Mounting the stairs to the second floor, visitors have the opportunity to come into contact with different aspects of the popular art and traditions of Macao; such as people's daily lives, entertainment, religious ceremonies and traditional festivals. The third floor shows contemporary Macao including the characteristic aspects of city life. The way Macao has been portrayed in literature and the arts is prominently highlighted.
The Macao Museum is located in the Mount Fortress, which was built by the Jesuits in the early 17th century. For a long time, the Fortress was the city's principal military defence structure where public access was restricted. In 1965 this Fortress was converted into the Meteorological Services and later opened to the public. Built on top of the Mount Hill, the Mount Fortress offers a panoramic view of the city. On its west is the Ruins of St. Paul's. On 15th July 2005, the Historic Centre of Macao was officially listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The Mount Fortress and the Ruins of St. Paul's are significant historical monuments of the Centre.
The Macao Museum was opened on 18th April 1998, consisting of two underground levels and a third one above the fortress' top platform where the old Meteorological Services is housed. The architectural character and special configuration of the architecture has been retained and preserved.
Senado Square has been Macao's urban centre for centuries, and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. Located close to the former Senate building, Sam Kai Vui Kun ( Kuan Tai Temple ) is also a reminder of the active participation of the local Chinese community in general civic affairs, providing a clear example of the multicultural dimension of the Macao community. The square is surrounded by pastel coloured neo-classical buildings, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere.
Established by the first Bishop of Macao in 1569, this institution was modelled after one of the most prominent and oldest charitable organizations in Portugal, and was responsible for founding in Macao the first western-style medical clinic and several other social welfare structures that still function to this day. The building is neo-classical in the overall architectural treatment, but also depicts traces of mannerist influence.
Built around 1622, the Cathedral was originally constructed with taipa (compound material consisting soil and straw). During the restoration of 1780, the religious services of the Cathedral were temporarily transferred to the old chapel of the Holy House of Mercy. The facade is characterized by pilasters and the twin belfries that stand out on the streetscape. The exterior is clad in Shanghai plaster, giving the church a monolithic subdued appearance.
Built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macao. Its present appearance and scale was acquired in 1846. Situated on the southern coastline of Macao overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighbourhood where the church is located used to be fairly wealthy, thus explaining the building's scale and wealth of architectural treatment. It is a neo-classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspirations.
Established in 1728, the old Seminary, together with St. Paul's College, was the principal base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region. St. Joseph's Seminary taught an academic curriculum equivalent to that of a university and in 1800 the Portuguese Queen Dona Maria I conferred on it the royal title of "House of the Mission Congregation". Adjacent to the Seminary is St. Joseph's Church, built in 1758, an exemplary model of baroque architecture in China, as noted in UNESCO's 2001 publication Atlas mundial de la arquitectura barroca.
Built before 1869, this was the traditional Chinese residential compound home of prominent Chinese literary figure Zheng Guanying. It is a traditional Chinese compound consisting of several courtyard houses, displaying a mix of Chinese and Western detailing, such as the use of grey bricks against arched ornamentations and Chinese timber lattice windows against mother-of-pearl window panels of Indian origin.
Chapel: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., no admission after 5:30 p.m. (no photographs allowed)
Lighthouse: not open to the public
The fortress was built between 1622 and 1638. Inside the fortress stands Guia Chapel, originally established by Clarist nuns, who resided at the site before establishing the Convent of St. Clare. The chapel's elaborate frescoes depict representations of both western and Chinese themes, displaying motifs of religious and mythological inspiration that are a perfect example of Macao's multicultural dimension. Guia Lighthouse, dating from 1865, which also stands within the perimeter, is the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Guia Fortress, along with the chapel and lighthouse are symbols of Macao's maritime, military and missionary past.
This Buddhist temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy was founded in the 13th century and the present buildings date from 1627. It is one of the biggest and wealthiest of Macao's temples with a huge entrance gate and roofs clustered with porcelain figures. Separated by open courtyards are richly decorated halls dedicated to the Precious Buddhas, the Buddha of Longevity and Kun Iam, who is dressed in embroiled silk with a fringed crown (which is changed every year). She is attended by 18 Buddhas on either side of the altar. In adjoining rooms are funeral chapels and scrolls honouring Kun Iam in pictures and calligraphy.
Behind the temple are terraced gardens. In one is the stone table on which was signed the first Sino-American treaty on July 3, 1844, by the Viceroy of Canton Ki Ying and the United States Minister Caleb Cushing. Nearby is the marble statue of a monk in an ornate pavilion, and four ancient banyan trees with branches intertwined which is known as the Lovers Tree and a symbol of marital fidelity.
In other parts of the garden are fountains shaped like miniature Chinese landscapes, groves of bamboo and small shrines to departed priests. The festival of Kun Iam is celebrated on the 19th day of second, sixth, ninth and 11th moons.