Classified Immovable Properties

    SM019 – St. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery


    Location: Macao

    Category: Sites

    Until the first half of the 19th century, there was still no cemetery under central management in Macao. Back then, either Chinese or Western cemeteries were scattered in different regions. Later in 1836, the St. Paul’s College ruins were transformed into the St. Paul’s Cemetery managed by the Holy House of Mercy. Before long, the St. Paul’s Cemetery no longer had space for new burials and posed sanitary concearns. The Portuguese Governor, Isidoro Francisco Guimarães decided to raise money to build the St. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery, by selling perennial graves to the wealthy and members of the government. The construction of the cemetery was completed in 1854, while the walls and the Chapel of St. Michael were built, respectively, in 1856 and 1875. The streets nearby, including Rua de S. Miguel and Estrada do Cemitério, owe their designation to the cemetary.

    The St. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery is the final resting place of many famous figures such as the Senna Fernandes family, Colonel Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita, the poet Camilo Pessanha and his family, the 5th grade Mandarin of the Qing Dinasty, Francisco Volong and his wife. There are also a large number of tombstones and monuments in different styles dated from the 19th and the 20th centuries. Western and Chinese festivals, religious ceremonies are held at the St. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery. It is a testimony to the co-existence of different cultures, religions and customs in Macao.

    Completed over 160 years ago, the S. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery was built in accordance with new urban planning concepts of the 19th century. With the construction of this cemetery, the management of burials in Macao became regulated by legislation, which reflected in the change of rooted social habits, while also reflecting that the society of Macao increasingly demanded better public health. The Cemetery is thus a testimony of the social and urban transformations of Macao, and is a reference for the study of these themes.The S. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery was planned and built according to the model of the Catholic cemeteries, with a main entrance street which gives access to a chapel, and from which access is made to a network of internal streets that subdivide the space in different areas adapted to the terrain slope and punctuated by vegetation, forming a unique landscape in Macao. The chapel of S. Miguel was built in 1875, in a neo-Gothic revivalist style, according to a project by António Alexandrino de Melo (Baron of Cercal). It was, together with the former building of Conde de S. Januário Hospital, designed by the same author, one of the rare examples of neo-Gothic architecture built in Macao, and is currently the only one still in existence. The S. Miguel Arcanjo Cemetery, with the S. Lázaro District and the Portuguese architecture buildings of Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida, is the largest architectural and landscape site with historical value preserved in Macao.


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