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Notes on the Geography of China: Macao: Photo 10

world pictures China: Macao

It's no accident that the Jesuits chose a hilltop for their great church and no accident that you have to climb a long flight of stairs to get to it. This is St. Paul's, named from Goa's now vanished college of that name and begun in 1602, almost forty years after the arrival of the Jesuits in Macao in 1565. The facade seen here was added between 1620 and 1640. The church that stood behind it burned in 1835, which is why St. Dominic's that year was put into service as the cathedral. The Jesuits had by then long been evicted from Macao. The church had then been confiscated by the crown and made into a barracks. A kitchen fire got out of control. As César Guillén Nuñez writes, "The survival of the church's facade up to our own days is, therefore, nothing short of miraculous" (Macao's Church of St. Paul p. 86). UNESCO's nominating document states that "nowhere else in the world can such a massive granite facade combining elaborate liturgical themes and Chinese motifs be found."

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