It’s hard to miss St. Dominic's Church (Igreja de São Domingos), with its pastel yellow façade. The church was established by three Dominican priests in 1587, though the current building dates from the 17th century. A popular attraction with a colorful past, the church forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre of Macau.
St. Dominic's Church was built in a Baroque style and includes both European and local Macanese design features. Note the Chinese-style roof tiles, teak doors, Corinthian columns, decorative panels, and the high altar featuring a statue of the Madonna and Child. In the bell tower at the back of the church, don’t miss the small Museum of Sacred Art, which holds around 300 artifacts, including religious statues, sculptures, sacramental objects, and paintings.
Most sightseeing tours of Macau feature a stop at St. Dominic's Church, along with other top attractions such as the A-Ma Temple and the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul. 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 cities.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The church is a must-see for first-time visitors to Macau.
- It’s free to enter the church and museum.
- This is a place of worship, so please be quiet and respectful.
How to Get There
St. Dominic's Church is located in St. Dominic Square. It’s less than five minutes’ walk from Senado Square. Visitors can also take bus No. 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 10, 26A, or 33.
When to Get There
The church is open daily. The annual parade of the Virgin Mary from the church through the streets of Macau occurs May 13, during the Festival of Our Lady Fatima. The church is also a main venue for the Macau International Music Festival, which usually takes place during September and October.
The church has been the site of several violent incidents. In 1644, a Spanish officer—loyal to Spain when the colony sided with Portugal—entered the church to escape an angry mob. They followed him inside and murdered him at the altar. Then in 1707, when the Bishop of Macau excommunicated the Dominicans, the friars locked themselves inside the church and threw stones at the soldiers during a 3-day standoff.