The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Macau’s historical colonial churches

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 01•10

Sao Paulo church facade

Some of the nicest examples of Portuguese colonial architecture are to be found in her churches.  Their interiors are varied, and the ornamentation budget has clearly been spent on the exterior.  On a sunny afternoon, the color of the facades makes a beautiful contrast to the blue sky.  You can visit them in any order, but we found the path we took allowed us to see all of them in two hours, without backtracking.  In walking order, they are: 

Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruinas de s. Paulo)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.842′, E113 degrees, 32.449′
Only the façade of the church, finished in 1640, and a few stones from the floor remain, but what a façade!  Considered the landmark of the city, it provides a wonderful clue as to how beautiful the church must have looked in its entirety, before being destroyed by fire in 1835.

 St. Dominic’s Church (Igreja de S. Domingos)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.617′, E113 degrees, 32.391′
Established in 1587, this beautiful church sits in Senado Square, opposite Santa Casa de Misericordia.  Here, the first Portuguese newspaper in Chinese territory was published in 1822.

 Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa de Misericordia)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.617′, E113 degrees, 32.391′
Founded in 1569, Misericordia was not a church, but rather a clinic and home to several other early welfare institutions in Macau.

 St. Augustine’s Church (Igreja de Santo Agostinho)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.524′, E113 degrees, 32.316′
Sitting in beautiful, St. Augustine’s Square, this church fronts the colonial Dom Pedro V Theatre (only open during shows), and the rear of St. Joseph’s Seminary. 

St. Lawrence’s Church (Igreja de S. Lourenco)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.415′, E113 degrees, 32.211′
Built in the mid 16th century, this church overlooks the sea, and on its step the families of Portuguese sailors would gather and wait for their return.

 St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church (Seminario e Igreja de S. Jose)
GPS Coordinates: N22 degrees, 11.501′, E113 degrees, 32.232′
Built in 1728, this exceptionally beautiful building houses the seminary where an academic curriculum, equal to that of a university, was taught to Catholic missionaries.

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