The Ruins of St. Paul’s – The façade of the Church of Mater Dei in Macau

The site of a 17th-century Catholic religious complex, St. Paul’s College and the Church of St. Paul. Built from 1602 to 1640 by the Jesuits, the church was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia at the time. With the decline in importance of Macau, which was overtaken as the main port for the Pearl River Delta by Hong Kong, the building’s fortunes similarly ebbed, and it was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon on 26 January 1835.

Back of the facade 1869 

The front wall site is 23 meters wide and 25 meters high. A mixture of Eastern and Western culture and art, which is only seen in Catholic churches everywhere. It is divided into five floors and contains rich stone patterns and bronze statues. The lintel of the main entrance on the ground floor is engraved with the Latin “MATER DEI”, which means “Mother of God”, with the emblem of Jesus on both sides.

The ruins were restored, and the façade is now buttressed with concrete and steel in a way which preserves the aesthetic integrity of the façade. A steel stairway allows tourists to climb up to the top of the façade from the rear.

Panoramic view of Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral circa 1930 

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