Palace & Chapel of São Paulo

Northern Mozambique

This imposing terracotta edifice – the former governor’s residence and now a museum – dates from 1610. The interior hosts the recently refurbished Museu de Artes Decorativas, which gives a remarkable glimpse of what upper-class life must have been like during the island’s 18th-century heyday. In addition to household items from Portugal, Arabia, India and China, there are many pieces of original furniture, including an important collection of beautifully ornamented Indo-Portuguese pieces carved by Goan craftsmen.

In the chapel, don’t miss the altar and the pulpit, the latter of which was made in the 17th century by Chinese artists in Goa (India). On the ground floor is the small but fascinating Maritime Museum, with gold coins, ship compasses, Chinese porcelain and other items recovered from local shipwrecks.

One ticket covers both museums as well as the Museu de Arte Sacra next door. Tours are guided and available in several languages, including Portuguese and English.

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