Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral

Attraction Rua de Sao Paulo, Macau, China Published on: 10-10-2016

1 hour
09:00 AM - 06:00 PM
09:00 AM
10:00 AM
First-time visit
Must see
0.00 USD

Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
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  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
The Ruins of St. Paul's (Portuguese: Ruínas de São Paulo, Chinese: 大三巴牌坊; pinyin: Dàsānbā Páifāng) refers to the ruins of a 16th-century complex in Macau

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Why Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral is special ?

The Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral (shèng bǎo luó dà jiào táng 圣保罗大教堂) are Macau's most famous landmark. Atop one of the island's seven hills, this spectacular facade is a symbol of Ruins of St. Paul’sMacau and an image that was projected throughout China leading up to the hand-over in December 1999.

St. Paul's Cathedral was first built in the 17th Century, with the design of an Italian Jesuit and the work of Japanese Christians. This mammoth and spectacular building dominated the city until 1835 when it was savagely destroyed by fire, sparing only the facade, the mosaic floor and stone steps approaching the building. The ruins of St. Paul's are still impressive and inspiring despite this destruction, and likely even more so as a result.

The magnificent and delicately carved facade looms over visitors as they climb the steps. The facade depicts various scenes from Christianity, harmoniously combining the style which is the epitome of Macau—a combination of renaissance and oriental art and design.

Even today, the ruins are held to be the most impressive monument to Christianity in the east. Behind the facade is Saint Paul's Museum which houses various religious relics and artifacts including the tomb of the Jesuit monk who designed the Cathedral.


What to explore at Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral?

Made of granites, the Ruins of St. Paul is 23 metres wide, 25.5 metres tall and divided into five tiers. The third tier and the above compose a triangle with the base being 8.5 metres. The architecture as a whole is baroque, but there is also a touch of Orient, like some traditional patterns of chrysanthemums in China or Japan, thus becoming a unique catholic church around the world.

The first tier is three entrances with ten Ionic orders. And the lintels of the small entrances are engraved with relief of IHS, while MATER DEI is in sight on the main entrance, which tells the Virgin Mary used to be enshrined here.

The second tire comprises three windows and ten Corinthian orders, each lintel carved with seven roses. Between the two pillars beside the middle window on both sides are Palmolive trees patterns, while four catholic saints are enshrined in niches of the side windows.

The third tier is best embellished, made up of six hybrid pilasters. In the middle exists a niche, where the Virgin Mary is in sight, with three reliefs of angels on both sides. The left is tree of wisdom and a pterosaur on which is the Virgin Mary. The right is spring of spirit and a western sailing boat on which is Our Lady, Star of the Sea. outside the pillars are buttresses, on which some Chinese can be read – "念死者无为罪", "鬼是诱人为恶".

The forth tier, composed of four hybrid pilasters, is enshrined with Jesus, on whose sides are reliefs of instruments of torture. Between pillars are reliefs of angels. The fifth tier is a triangle-shaped pediment, in the middle of which is a bronze pigeon with a cross atop.


How to get to Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral?

- By bus No. 10,10A, 11, 21A, 2, 3, 3A, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A ,26A, 33 and get off at Avenida de Almeida Riberio (新馬路, San Man Lo), then walk along the Senado Square;

- By bus No. 17, 18, 8A, 26 and get off at Jardim Camoes/ Terminal (白鴿巢總站, Camoes Garden Bus Terminal), then walk along the Cobbled Street (石仔路).

Selling points

  • Pleasant and interesting experience
  • Magnificent ruins - Heritage site
  • Historical Significance
  • Historical monument in midst of housing estate
  • Impressive Starting Point
Macau budget one-day trip for backpackers

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1.0 day
25.63 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
10 places




Rua de Sao Paulo, Macau, China

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Tips for you

  • There is an official taxi spot just on the right side of Ruins of St Paul.
  • You just climb the stairs to take a beautiful shoot in front of this iconic place
    Things to do
  • Just enjoy the shopping areas around the cathedral and try the local cusine.
  • It is also a beautiful place to bring your lunch to eat in the shadows of the ruins
  • It's a must for photographers
  • You need to be prepared for the crowds of people on the stairs
  • Make sure check out the surrounding area as well as there are a few hidden treats to find
  • The view is better at night time with all the lighting
  • Go in the morning if you can as it is very crowded by midday.
  • After visiting the Ruins of St. Paul, you can go the Museum of Sacred Art to have a look nearby
    Things nearby
  • There are some curios and bakery shops nearby which are quite popular with the tourists.
    Things nearby


TripAdvisor View more

I had a pleasant experience in this place when I was in Macau in December of 2014. It still has a historic sense to it and the walk from the plaza to the ruins is well worth it! It didn't hear that it was steps away from Starbucks and other more modern attractions. It's definitely a must-see in my book.

TripAdvisor View more

Interesting facade for a cathedral, a bit of east meet west... There is a free museum located below.But this is probably the most crowded in Macau

TripAdvisor View more

This was always on the top of my list to visit when I was planning to go to Macau. It's such an iconic structure and you see photos of it everywhere. The facade is beautiful and great for taking photos in front of. The free museum is also worth a quick pop in to. There are plenty of cheap souvenir shops near by to check out and there's Starbucks too!

TripAdvisor View more

great place to unwind with friends. great local cum french inspired cusisine, seafood, french and macau beers available. was a nice stop over

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