We were having such a great time at the Venetian Macau that we could have enjoyed spending the whole day playing at the casino and doing photo ops at its grand halls but we needed to carry on to our next destination since we were flying out back to Manila the same day. Now off to Macau’s most famous landmark, the ruins of Saint Paul Cathedral and Senado Square!
We rode The Venetian Macau’s free shuttle back to the Macau Ferry Terminal and from there, we rode Bus 10A to Almeida Ribeiro Avenue. The street is a great attraction in itself with excellently preserved row of colorful street shops and heritage buildings such as the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (1902) and Central Post Office. At the center of Almeide Ribeiro is Senado Square (also called Senate Square).
Senado Square is a lively plaza/piazza with cobblestone streets where visitors and locals can sit at a table and watch the world go by over a cup of coffee. It boasts a rich architectural tradition – St. Dominic’s Church, the Holy House of Mercy, Leal Senado Building and Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple reflect the mix of modernity and cultural exchange of East and West.
Senado Square is actually part of the “Historic Centre of Macau,” which covers 8 squares and 22 buildings in Macau. The Historic Centre of Macau is included in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s list of world heritage sites.
We followed the narrow passageways to the ruins of St. Paul and passed by food shops selling all sorts of meat jerky, tarts, and other foods. Most of the shops have free food tasting so we made sure grab some bites to sample the delicacies of Macau. I so love this place! You can really feel Macau’s organic urban core.
A few more steps later, we walked into a large open space where we caught our first glimpse of the St. Paul Cathedral ruins, historic Macau’s most famous attraction.
We spent a generous time to take pictures, we even took a jump shot of us on the grand staircase with the cathedral on the background, it was fun!
The Cathedral of Saint Paul in Macau used to be the largest Cathedral in Asia but was destroyed by a fire in 1835. What remains today is only its magnificent facade known for its size and intricately carved details.
Just beside the right the ruins of Saint Paul Cathedral is the Na Tcha Buddhist and Taoist temple, which is another testament of old Macau’s multicultural identity.
We then went uphill to Fortress Hill at the right side of Saint Paul Cathedral. It was very tiring to trek all the way to the top, I’ve read that there’s actually an elevator/escalator somewhere here but we didn’t know where it was.
After reaching near the top, we took a short rest on the benches and saw a number of Chinese joggers going around the hill for some exercise. There were a number of cannons surrounding the stone fortress and a 3 level museum built on top. The view was so worth the effort and provided a panorama of Macau Island.
I so wished we had more time to spend exploring the heritage sites of Macau. I had a fulfilling time soaking up the history of this once bustling Portuguese colony. All the more reasons to go back to Macau in future travels.