Macau is a melting pot of customs, cuisine and traditions. There is evidence of a Portuguese presence left behind from the colonial era. Chinese heritage is also strongly represented in the customs, temples and shrines. To see a contrasting side, take a trip to the only part of China where gambling is legal, the Special Administrative Region of Macau. Accommodation consists of some the big names in hospitality and the vibe is very similar to Las Vegas.
To explore the many historic sites of Macau, start with the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The site can be found adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum, a ten minute car ride from the Ascott Macau on R. Cidade de Braga. The towering baroque, mannerist façade, grand stone stairs and church floor are all that remain of the old Church of Mater Dei. The Church of Mater Dei, together with St. Paul’s College and Mount Fortress were constructions of the Roman Catholics. The Church was first built in 1580 but was badly damaged by fire in 1595 and again in 1601. Reconstruction work was carried out from 1602 to 1637 and it went on to become the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. In 1835, a giant cyclone hit Macau and the church was burnt to the ground.
The ruin that stands today is twenty three metres wide and twenty five and half metres tall. It has been divided into five levels that signify the classical concept of divine ascent. The ultimate state, the Holy Spirit, is embodied in a triangular pediment at the top. There is a mix of cultures depicted on the façade. The sculpted images include biblical symbolism, mythological characters along with Asian influences in the forms of Chinese lions, Chinese characters and Japanese chrysanthemums.
Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world. Google+