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The city of Macau in Southern China might be best known for its casinos and luxury hotels, but its most treasured icon is actually a church, or what remains of it.

The Church of St. Paul, also known as "Mater Dei", is a 17th-century Portuguese church dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle. It was constructed from 1602 to 1640 by Jesuit priests who travelled to the Far East to spread Catholicism. Indeed, the Jesuits first entered China through the Portuguese settlement on Macau, and the Church of St. Paul was its first church. Originally, the church complex also included what was then the first Western university in East Asia. The church itself was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia at the time.

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Photo credit: Christian Junker/Flickr

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