Macau has been administered and ruled by the Portuguese until its sovereignty was completely surrendered to China on 1999. Portugal has not only given the city its name but was partially responsible for its rich history, traditions, and culture. Despite Macau’s booming gambling and entertainment businesses, it was successful in keeping its ancient edifices free from destruction and its history away from obscurity. On Portugal’s rich contribution in Macau, Catholicism was the most glaring and the churches were proofs that Portuguese’s influences and traditions are still very much alive.
After you’ve been fascinated by modern and enormous buildings in Macau, find some time to visit its past and be amazed with old churches, no matter which denomination you belong, visiting these ancient churches would be an amazing experience for you.
1. Our Lady of Carmel Church
Located at the Taipa Peninsula, near Taipa House Musuem in Old Taipa Village, the church stands atop overlooking the sea and the Cotai Strip. It was built in 1885 and after a little restoration, the church still looks as magnificent as it was first built.
Mass Schedule: Weekdays: 0730, Chinese. Saturday Anticipated Mass: 1830, English. Sunday Mass: 0900, Chinese, 1000, English, 1100, Portuguese.
Address: Avenida de Carlos da Maia, Largo do Carmo, Taipa
How to Get Here: From either Macau or Taipa Ferry Terminal or from Macau International Airport, take the free shuttle bus to Venetian Hotel. From outside of the west lobby of the hotel, cross the overpass on the right hand side, take the walkalator and walk your way up to the church. Public Bus Routes: 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, 34
2. Macau Cathedral
The cathedral was built in 1622 and is now listed as one of the World Heritage Sites in Macau. As the current Cathedral of the Diocese of Macau, it has its fair share of tourists, devotees or not, that marvel on its beauty inside and out, not to mention that the Cathedral stands near the city centre of Macau.
Address: No. 1 Cathedral Square (Near the Leal Senado Square)
Mass Schedule: Weekdays: 0730, Chinese, 1800, Portuguese. Saturday Anticipated Mass: 0730, 1800, Portuguese. Sunday: 0730, 0900, Chinese. 1100, Portuguese, 1800, English.
How to Get here: Take the free shuttle bus from City of Dreams Hotel to Macau Sintra, or from Galaxy Hotel to San Malo (Senado Square) and walk to the Cathedral (5-10 minutes). Public Bus Routes: 2, 5, 6A, 7, 16, 28B
3. St. Augustine’s Church
The church was built in 1591 and it has kept its tradition of hosting the famous Easter Procession, which is attended by large number of devotees yearly.
Address: No. 2 Santo Agostinho Square (Opposite road of Senado Square)
Mass Schedule: Friday: 1730, Chinese. Sunday: 1000, Filipino, 1600, English.
How to Get here: Take the free shuttle bus from City of Dreams Hotel to Macau Sintra, or from Galaxy Hotel to San Malo (Senado Square) and walk opposite side of the Senado Square. Public Bus Routes: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
4. St. Lawrence’s Church
This church was established in the mid-16th century and one of the oldest churches in Macau. They said that based on the Neo-classical architectural structure of the church, it was once considered the church of the affluent.
Address: Rua de Sao Lourenco (access from Rua Da Imprensa Nacional)
Mass Schedule: Weekdays: 0730, Chinese. Sunday: 0730, 0900, Chinese.
How to Get Here: Walking distance from Senado Square near the St. Joseph Seminary and Church and near the Nam Van Lake. You can either access the church on the Nam Van Lake side or San Malo side. Public Bus Routes: 9, 16, 18, 28B
5. St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church
It was built in 1728 and like St. Paul’s, it has also been an academic institution that has taught academic lessons similar to that of a university. Now it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Address: Rua do Seminario (near St. Lawrence’s Church)
Mass Schedule: Tuesday to Saturday: 0730, Chinese. Sunday: 0930, Chinese, 1730, English.
How to Get Here: see St’ Lawrence’s Church directional assistance above.
6. Chapel of Our Lady of Penha
The Chapel was established in 1622 and it is still standing tall on top of the hill overlooking the city of Macau. Aside from going to Macau Tower, this is an option if you want to see the city from a different perspective as it also offers an amazing view of Macau, not to mention that the chapel is a beauty of its own.
Address: Hilltop of the Penha Hill, Macau Peninsula
How to Get Here: Opposite Side of Nam Van Lake (sea-side). Public Bus Routes: 6B, 9, 16, 28B
7. St. Dominic’s Church
This Church that was established in 1587 and considered to be one of the three oldest churches in Macau, is now part of the Historic Centre of Macau listed in the World Heritage Sites. It sits in the center of Macau City Centre, the Leal Senado Square. At the back of the church, there is a bell tower that was transformed into a museum, the Museum of Sacred Art that features more than 300 artifacts.
Address: St. Dominic’s Square (Leal Senado Square)
Mass Schedule: Saturday Anticipated Mass: 1700, Chinese.
How to Get Here: 5-min away from Senado Square. Public Bus Routes: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
8. St. Francis Xavier Church
The church was built in 1928 and it is located at the southern part of Macau, the Coloane Island. The Coloane Island is less explored as compared to Macau and Taipa Peninsulas but it is comparable to the latter two in terms of tourist attractions.
Address: Rua do Caetano, Largo Eduardo Marques, Coloane
Mass Schedule: Sunday: 1000, English.
How to Get Here: Public Bus Routes: 15, 21A, 25, 26A
9. St. Anthony’s Church
Established in 1560, the church was then made of bamboo and wood, until its final reconstruction in 1930 to have it made in stone.
Address: Santo Antonio Square (Near Ruins of St. Paul’s)
Mass Schedule: Weekdays: 0730, Chinese. Tuesday: 1730, Portuguese. Sunday: 0730,0830, Chinese, 1000, Portuguese.
How to Get Here: 5-min walking distance from the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Public Bus Routes: 17, 18, 26
10. Ruins of St. Paul’s
Built in 1602, survived fire and destruction at least thrice, Ruins of St. Paul’s is not only one of the most famous churches in the city but also one of the most recognizable landmarks of Macau. The facade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s was originally the Church of Mater Dei.
How to Get Here: Take the free shuttle bus from City of Dreams Hotel to Macau Sintra, or from Galaxy Hotel to San Malo (Senado Square) and pass by St. Dominic’s Church and walk straight to the narrow but famous street leading to the Ruins. Public Bus Routes: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A