Once St. Paul’s College and the Church of St. Paul, the 17th century Ruins of St. Paul’s are one of Macau’s most famous landmarks. As part of the Historic Centre of Macau, the ruins comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most prominent among the Ruins of St. Paul’s is a large stone façade on the southern face of the site. A flight of 68 stone steps lead to the ornately carved wall, covered in a mixture of Jesuit and Oriental imagery. The site also features a complex of Jesuit crypts. Visitors often toss coins from the top of the façade as a token of good luck.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s are centrally located in Macau, less than a 10-minute walk from Senado Square. The site’s nearest public transportation is a bus stop on the Rua de Tomas Vieira. A ride from the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf would take about 30 minutes.
At the time of their construction, which was completed in 1640, St. Paul’s College and the Church of St. Paul formed the largest Catholic church in Asia. The Jesuit complex burned in an 1835 fire and had already suffered from Macau’s decline, as Hong Kong became China’s most important port city.