One of the most famous landmarks in Macau, the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul is all that’s left of a church that was built in 1602 and was destroyed by fire in 1835. All that remains are the iconic stone façade and the grand staircase leading up to it. The ruins form part of the Historic Center of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Climb nearly 70 stone steps to the ruins and admire the intricate five-tier façade, which was carved by Japanese Christian exiles and Chinese craftsmen, and adorned with statues and carvings that reflect Christian, European, Chinese, and Japanese influences. You’ll see images of the Virgin Mary, a Chinese dragon and lions, Japanese chrysanthemums, and Portuguese ships. Climb the steel staircase behind the façade and take in panoramic views of Macau. Behind the ruins is the Museum of Sacred Art and an excavated crypt..
Most tours of Macau stop at the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul, along with other attractions such as the A-Ma Temple and Macau Tower. Or visit on a hop-on hop-off bus to explore at your leisure. Day trips from Hong Kong and Shenzhen are also available. Those planning to explore Hong Kong as well can take a multi-day tour of both Macau and Hong Kong.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Ruins of the Church of St. Paul is a must-see for first time visitors to Macau.
- It’s free to enter the ruins and the museum.
- Wear sturdy shoes if you plan to walk up the staircase leading to the ruins, or behind the ruins.
How to Get There
The ruins are located near Rua de São Paulo. From Senado Square, it’s about 10 minutes’ walk. Taxis provide the easiest way to get to the ruins. Visitors can also take bus Nos. 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 19, 26A, or 33.
When to Get There
The ruins are open daily. The museum and crypt behind the ruins are also open daily, though with limited hours on Tuesdays. The ruins can get crowded on weekends and public holidays; visit during the week for smaller crowds.
Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt
The museum contains religious works of art made in Macau from the 17th century onward, including paintings by exiled Japanese Christian artists, as well as crucifixes, carvings, and sacred objects. Next to the museum is an excavated crypt, which contains the bones of 17th-century Christian martyrs from Japan, as well as the tomb of Father Allesandro Valignano, the founder of the Church of St. Paul.