Perhaps the last place you would expect to find beautiful European style churches is China. Colonised by the Portuguese, over 400 years ago, Catholicism was brought to Macau and many churches and convents built. Here are some of our favourites.
Chapel of Our Lady of Penha
Originally built in 1622 by Portuguese sailors that had escaped capture during a Dutch invasion attempt in Macau, the entire structure has since been rebuilt and today the church is exceptionally beautiful. It is surrounded by trees and flowered paths and is a popular site for wedding photos and a frequent backdrop for local TV shows and movies. It’s located at the top of Penha Hill and also offers arguably the best view in Macau.
Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, Hilltop of Penha Hill, Macau +853 2857 2801
Definitely one to include on your must visit list, this beautiful small chapel forms part of the Guia Fortress and stands next door to a lighthouse. The present chapel dates from 1637, containing the image of the Virgin and a fine old painting of St. John the Baptist. The murals in the chapel depict representations of both western and Chinese themes, a perfect example of Macau’s multicultural history. Located at the top of Guia Hill, it’s reachable by foot or cable car and offers some spectacular views looking out over the city.
Arguably Macau’s most famous landmark, the Ruins of St. Paul’s is an iconic stone façade, the remains of what used to be the greatest of Macau’s churches, the complex of St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul, built in the 16th century, but burned down in 1835 leaving only its very large and beautiful façade. At the rear of the façade a staircase enables you to climb up to the windows to get a closer look at the stone carvings and to enjoy a panoramic view of the city below. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was built at the bottom of the ruins in 1996 and houses many religious artifacts.
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