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Ruins of St. Paul's & Monte Fort

Ruins of St. Paul's

The front facade and grand stone stairs of the church

The Ruin of the Church Facade
The Ruins of St. Paul's (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik) stands adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum. The front façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church.

 First constructed in 1580, St. Paul's Church caught fires in 1595 and 1601. However, reconstruction started in 1602 soon after the church was burnt down. Completed in 1637, the church became the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. Unfortunately, a violent typhoon hit Macau in 1835 and the church caught fire for the third time leaving its glory a history. According to historical materials, St Paul's Church, built with white stones, had a grand vaulted roof. It had three magnificently decorated halls.

Built with granites, Sam Ba Sing Tzik has a baroque facade rich in ornamentation but with classic oriental characteristics. From the bottom up, the structure has five tiers. The first tier is comprised of ten Ionic columns with three entrances. The entrance in the middle has 'MATER DEI' carved into it. The two entrances on each side are decorated with bas-reliefs in the pattern of 'HIS'. The second tier features ten Corinthian columns with three windows. A Catholic saint is enshrined in each of four tabernacles between columns. The two tiers as a whole is said to represent the Society of Jesus and the activities of missionaries.

In front of the Arch
Ruins of St. Paul's
The remaining three tiers are the most decorated. The statue of Madonna stands in the middle of the third tier, while the statue of Jesus stands on the fourth. The walls are covered with bas-reliefs in various patterns like devils, angels, symbols of crucifixion, a Portuguese sailing ship, etc. The triangular combination of the upper three tiers reflects the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary. A cross stands at the coping of the wall.

It is worth mentioning that the stone lions at the sides of the third and fourth tiers are distinctively Chinese. There are also bas-reliefs in designs of chrysanthemum and cherry, as well as Chinese inscriptions. The surviving façade has long been acknowledged as a perfect fusion of western and eastern cultures.

The Ruins of St. Paul's has been restored during 1990 and 1995. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was also built at that time. It has exhibitions of religions artworks including paintings, sculptures and statues.

Monte Fort

Of all the forts in Macau, the Monte Fort is the oldest, lying to the east of the Ruins of St. Paul's. Built in 1616, it originally belonged to St. Paul's Church and was used to defend the church from the pirates. It later became solely a military fort.

The fort is quadrilateral with bastions at each corner and about 100 meters (328 feet) in circumference. Barracks, cisterns and storehouses were the main buildings of the fort. An ancient tower situated here was one of the sites of the Society of Jesus. With cannons on the four sides, the fort was strongly fortified. Though the cannons have lost their military function, they still remain.

In 1838, a fire destroyed the fort buildings as well as the Jesuit College and St. Paul's Church. Only see the fore wall of the church now remains and is known as the Ruins of St. Paul's.

In 1965, a single-storey barrack in South European style was transformed into the Macau Meteorological Bureau. To its right hangs an ancient bell made by an expert in casting cannons. In 1998, the Macau Museum was established here, detailing the development and the customs of Macau.

The landscape surrounding the fort is quite charming. Standing on the platform, visitors have an excellent view across Macau, making the Monte Fort a very popular attraction for both tourists and natives alike.

Opening Hours of the Monte Fort: 06:00-19:00 (May - Sep.)
07:00-18:00 (Oct. - the next Apr.)
Opening Hours of Macau Museum: 10:00-18:00 from Tuesday to Sunday
Bus Route: Bus No.8A, 17, 18, 19, 26

 Recommended Nearby Attractions:
The Museum of Macau
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
Camoes Garden (Jardim de Luís de Camões)
St. Domingo's Church
Senado Square
 Cathedral, Macau