Ruins of St. Paul
Ruins of St. Paul, usually known as "Great Sanba Archway", is the historical site of St. Paul Church. Construction of the church began in 1602 and was completed in 1637 with more than 30 years' effort. It once suffered from three fire accidents. The last one broke out on January 1, 1835 and continued for over two hours. The whole church was almost razed to the ground except the front wall, which was later known as "Great Sanba Archway".
St. Paul Church was designed by an Italian priest of Jesus Union and constructed by Japanese craftsmen.
The name Sanba comes from the transliteration of Saopavio. As there is a smaller church close to it, the St. Paul Church was therefore named Great Sanba Church so as to make differentiation. Since the front wall of the church after the serious fire accident looks like a traditional Chinese archway and thus called Great Sanba Archway.
Great Sanba Archway is 27 meters tall, 23.5 meters wide, and 2.7 meters thick. The top floor is a triangle lintel under a cross; in the middle of the lintel embeds a copper dove standing for sacred divinity; the dove is surrounded by sun, moon, and stars symbolizing the pregnancy by the Virgin Mary; under a copper dove stands a statue of baby Jesus Christ with the tools that were used to nail him to the cross. The major figures here are the Virgin Marry, the Holy Father, Holy Saint, and Jesus Christ. The next two floors under the top reflect the mission of churchmen. The style of the whole church is that of European Baroque style. The embossments on the architecture, as an integration of western and eastern culture, deliver with force both the western religious art and Chinese traditional stone carving techniques.
The Great Sanba Archway has 68 panels in total. In the basement at the rear lies a Catholic Artistic Museum containing many religious artworks.