Given the history and culture of China and also given the stereotypes the international media propagates, one expects Macau to often be a larger version of Chinatown. Most often, this stereotype is reinforced, for the country is exactly what you envision it to be but other times, it is truly curious to see places of heritage such as the magnificent cathedral of St. Paul in Macau and believe that you are actually in China. The façade of St. Paul as well as the beautifully manicured gardens bring to mind an image of Europe, not of Asia.
The ruins of St. Paul found in Macau greet tourists with the remaining structure of the Cathedral of St. Paul and St. Paul’s College, an arrangement built during the 16th century. The former was built by the Jesuits from 1582 to 1602 during their occupation of the area in the 17th century as a tribute to the Apostle by the name of St. Paul. At the time of construction, this Church was easily one of largest of its kind in the entire continent which also prompted and enjoyed the patronage of some of the most iconic royal families in Europe. However, due to the decline in its importance, the Cathedral soon fell to disrepair and unconcern and finally succumbed to a fatal fire in the early 19th century, leaving only the basic structure intact. It is this basic structure, along with beautifully manicured gardens that attract many to its gates, or the remnants of it.
Given the dozens of tourists visiting these ruins, the administration made a bold choice in refusing to demolish the structure even though it was claimed to be on the verge of collapsing, and instead, choosing to conduct a series of excavations. These endeavours appear to have paid dividends handsomely with the discovery of an underground foundation and crypts as well as other artefacts carrying immense historic value.
One thing tourists residing at a luxury Macau hotel will have the opportunity of doing, when visiting these ruins, is to engage in the customary exercise of throwing coins from the base of the structure into the windows of rooms, hoping for good luck. However, you don’t need to pray for good luck when it comes to finding decent accommodation in Macau, for this is one district that is packed with iconic hotels catering to tourists, one such being the Galaxy Macau Resort Hotel whose external façade alone makes it fit for royalty, and its sumptuous interiors make it one of the finest Luxury hotels Macau has to offer.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.