Ruins of the Church of St. Paul
Devastated by the blaze all that remains of the Church of St Paul are the 66 stone steps which ascend a steep hill and the intricately carved five-tier façade for which the ruin is now so famous. Carved from granite which was able to withstand the fire, the façade features a panorama of carvings which fuse traditional European Renaissance and Oriental artistic styles. The façade was carved by Japanese Christians escaping religious persecution and was constructed in a classically Baroque style. Images found on the façade include traditional Jesuit scenes from the Bible to Portuguese sailing vessels with billowing sails. The stone lions which flank the third and fourth tiers are representative of the Chinese influence in the construction and design of St. Paul’s.
Behind the façade now sits St Paul’s Museum as well as remnants of the original city walls. Dating to 1569 the naturally formed barriers are formed from a blend of clay, soil, sand, glutinous rice, crushed rocks and small bits of oyster shells.
While viewing the façade from beneath the ruin is reason enough to pay a visit to St Paul’s, many visitors opt to ascend the steel staircase which runs behind the soaring structure. Already perched on a hill overlooking the city, steel staircase allows visitors to peer out the windows of the second-tier for a framed view of the city of Macau which is unlike any other. Be sure to bring a coin to toss into the second-tier window from the staircase—a classic Macanese tradition for bringing good fortune.
Guide very knowledgeable and fair to all the party.
Macau is a formerly Portuguese outpost just minutes away from the Chinese border. With this location, it is now most influenced by the changes in the modern Chinese economy and culture. This tour explains the past, present and future of Macau. We spent a few minutes at a casino in the old part of town; if you want to see the spectacular Vegas-style Cotai Strip, plan on leaving the tour at the end and making your way back to Shanghai on your own -- easily done with complementary casino transport to and from the jet-ferry station.
Great day - all worked well. We were a bit concerned about our passports - but we were looked after by the operator very well. No problkems.