With such a long history of colonial and Chinese influences, Macau is home to numerous churches and temples that reflect this mixed background. Its historic churches recall a Mediterranean style brought over by its former Portuguese colonial masters, intermixing with a collection of serene temples and shrines that hearken to Macau’s indigenous and Chinese past and present.

1Chapel of St. James

Address: Avenida da República, Pousada de São Tiago

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This tiny chapel rebuilt in 1740 in the Barra Fort on the top of the peninsula is now an architectural part of the Portuguese pousada São Tiago, which has been established on the foundations of the fort. It is a charming sanctuary with a statue of the saint and blue and white tiles depicting Our Lady of Fátima and the saintly Queen Isabel. St. James is the military protector of Macau, and legend tells that he frequently goes on patrol around the city, and, at times, his boots are found to be muddy.

2Chapel of Our Lady of Penha

Address: Hilltop of Penha Hill
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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The Chapel Our Lady of Penha is located at the top of Penha Hill. It is said that the the chapel foundation was related to an appreciation to The Holy Virgin Mary for Her help in a narrowly escape of a Portuguese ship from Dutch raiders. The chapel served as a point of pilgrimage for sailors embarking on a hazardous voyage. In 1837 it was reconstructed, along with the Bishop’s Residence, alongside the church. On the large open courtyard fronting the chapel is a marble image of Our Lady of Lourdes facing Macau and China. This is one of the best views of Macau City: we can see from here : the inner harbour, the Macau Tower, the bridges to Taipa, nearby towns in China and Chinese Hengqin island, the Chief Executive’s Palace and other colonial residences.

3St. Lawrence Church

Address: Rua de São Lourenço (access from Rua Da Imprensa Nacional)
Opening hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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Built by the Jesuits in around 1560, this is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Its present appearance and scale took shape in 1846. It used to overlook the sea and families of Portuguese sailors gathered on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds). The neighborhood where the church is located used to be residence belonging to the opium-dealing British traders, thus explaining the building’s scale and wealth of architectural treatment. It is a neo-classical structure, with subtle Baroque decorative inspiration.

4St. Joseph Seminary Church

Address: Rua do Seminário
Opening hours: Church: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Seminary not open to the public)

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Established in 1728, the old Seminary, together with St. Paul’s College, was the principal base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region. St. Joseph’s Seminary taught an academic curriculum equivalent to that of a university and in 1800 the Portuguese Queen Dona Maria I conferred on it the royal title of “House of the Mission Congregation”. Adjacent to the Seminary is St. Joseph’s Church, built in 1758, an exemplary model of baroque architecture in China.

5St. Augustine Church

Address: No.2 Santo Agostinho Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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First established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591, this church maintains the tradition of organizing one of the most popular processions through the city, the Easter Procession, involving thousands of devotees. In times past, during heavy rain, the priests used to reinforce the rooftop with fan palm leaves. Seen from afar, these leaves appeared to be dragon’s whiskers floating in the wind, hence the local Chinese named it Long Song Miu (Temple of the Long-whiskered Dragon).

6Cathedral

Address: No.1 Cathedral Square
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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The Cathedral of Macau, also known as Sé Catedral, is the mother church of the catholic Diocese of Macau, When first built in 1576, it was a small wooden chapel. In 1622, it was redesigned as a Cathedral. Whenever the local Catholics have any big celebrations, they hold them in the Macau Cathedral, showing the importance of the Cathedral in Macau people’s heart. On the right of the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Mansion; which houses the highest administrative department of Catholic affairs in Macau. The present building had to be rebuilt in the 1930’s after sever typhoon damage.

7St. Dominic Church

Address: St. Dominic’s Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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The construction of the church was finished in in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico, this baroque church is also connected to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was here that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China (“The China Bee”), on 12th September 1822. The bell tower, at the back of the building, has been modified into a small Museum of Sacred Art, now exhibiting a collection of around 300 sacred artifacts.

8St. Anthony Church

Address: Santo António Square
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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First built of bamboo and wood before 1560, this is one of the oldest churches in Macao, also marking the site where the Jesuits set up their earliest headquarters in the city. The church was reconstructed in stone several times, while the present appearance and scale of the church dates back to 1930. Previously, members of the Portuguese community would hold wedding ceremonies there, so giving rise to the Chinese name of Fa Vong Tong (Church of Flowers).

9Protestant Chapel

Address: Protestant Cemetery (beside Casa Garden)

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To serve Macao’s small Protestant minority this chapel is appropriately situated in the cemetery where 150 British and American graves recall the days of the foreign trading and naval presence in Macau. The small stone building is sometimes called the “Morrison Chapel” in honour of Robert Morrison, a missionary who translated the Bible into Chinese, and the stained glass window contains the art picture of an open Bible with Chinese characters for “In the beginning was the Word”.

10St. Lazarus Church

Address: No. 11 Adro de S. Lázaro

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The first building on this site was the Hermitage of Our Lady of Hope, or more popularly St. Lazarus, established in 1570 to serve lepers. At the same time a settlement for lepers was built outside the old city walls. (This was transferred to D. João Island in 1882 and to Coloane in 1947, where it is today). The present St. Lazarus was rebuilt in 1885. In the forecourt is the Cross of Hope from the original chapel.

11Chapel of St. Michael

Address: Estrada do Cemitério, Cemitério S. Miguel Arcanjo (St. Michael’s Cemetery)

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Set amid the baroque graves of the Cemetery of St Michael , this dainty chapel, built in 1875, has a green-and-white facade and baroque features in small proportions.

12Guia Chapel

Address: Guia Hill
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., no admission after 5:30 p.m.

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Situated in the highest point of Macau, the chapel was first built in the 17th century as part of the Guia Fortress. The present chapel dates from 1637, containing the image of the Virgin and a fine old painting of St. John the Baptist. During the restoration of the chapel in 1996, the oldest vestige of paintings that dates back to the construction of the hermitage in 1622 was founded. The murals are characterized by Oriental and Occidentals symbols.

13Chapel of St. Francis Xavier

Address:Rua do Caetano, Largo Eduardo Marques, Coloane

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Built in 1928, the chapel contains some of the most sacred relics of Christian Asia. In a silver reliquary is a bone from the arm of St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, who died in 1552 on Sanchuan Island, 50 miles from Macao. Persecution of Christians in Japan led to 26 foreign and Japanese Catholic priests being crucified in Nagasaki in 1597 and many hundreds of Christian Japanese being killed during the 1637 Shimabara Rebellion. The bones of the Martyrs and some of the rebels were brought to Macao and kept in St. Paul’s. After fire destroyed the church, all the bones and relics were gathered and taken to the Cathedral. They were moved to St. Francis Xavier Chapel in 1974.

14Our Lady of Fatima Church

Address: Bairro Tamagnini Barbosa, Rua de Lei Pou Chon, No. 23

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Rebuilt in 1967, this church serves the people of the industrial Bairro Tamagnini Barbosa in the north of the city. It stands in a quiet courtyard behind wrought- iron gates. The design is contemporary with a large square tower containing two bells.

Taipa – Cotai

15Our Lady of Carmel

Address: Avenida de Carlos da Maia, Largo do Carmo, Taipa

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Built in 1885, this church stands on a hill overlooking the sea, Taipa Village and the restored mansions of Old Taipa Praia.

16St. Francisco Xavier Church

Address: No. 116 – 118 Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira

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Built in 1951, this small attractive church is attached to an old people’ s home, near the hill of Mong-Ha. The interior is simple and tranquil with a black marble altar. High louvred shutters along the walls open onto pleasant courtyards and gardens.

17Our Lady Sorrows Church

Address: Estrada de Nossa Senhora de Ká Hó, Nossa Senhora Village, Coloane

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This small church was built in 1966 to serve the needs of the settlement of Ka Ho, where the families of cured lepers and a few new cases live. It has a magnificent bronze crucifix over the north door. It was created and given to Ka Ho by Italian sculptor Francisco Messima. Also associated with the building of this church is the name of another Italian sculptor, Oseo Acconci. A few years ago, the relic was taken to St. Joseph’ s Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum, but many people still come to this Chapel, especially Japanese Christians.