Macao - located on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta
in southern Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China -
adjoins the Mainland city of Zhuhai and lies some 60
kilometres to the west of Hong Kong. Macao comprises Macao
Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. Macao Peninsula is the hub of
the territory and is connected to Taipa by three bridges.
Several large international hotel resorts - with new
supporting infrastructure - are located on the reclaimed
land between Taipa and Coloane in the newly developed
district known as Cotai.
The Portuguese arrived and settled in Macao in the mid 16th
Century. Thus, the city’s architecture, art, religion,
traditions, food and community reflect the integration of
Chinese, Western and Portuguese cultures. Macao became a
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of
China on 20th December 1999 and exercises a high degree of
autonomy under the principle of "One country, two systems".
The SAR is growing in size with more buildings on reclaimed
land, and in the number and diversity of its attractions. In
2005, The Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the
UNESCO World Heritage List as a result of its unique
historical and cultural landscape. Macao is currently
positioning itself as the World Centre of Tourism and
Leisure as it develops into a quality international tourist
The Macao Special Administrative Region has an area of 30.8
km2, comprised of the Macao Peninsula (9.3 km2 and connected
to Mainland China), Taipa (7.6 km2), Coloane (7.6 km2) and
the reclaimed area COTAI (6.0 km2). Three bridges connect
Macao to Taipa (one of them is 2.5 km long, the other one is
4.5 km long and the third one is 2.2 km long).
Besides the Border Gate (Portas do Cerco) - the visitor can
access Mainland China through the COTAI Frontier Post.
Immigration and Customs is located in the reclaimed area
between Taipa and Coloane.
Macao is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Chinese
and Portuguese are the official languages, Cantonese being
most widely spoken. The official languages are used in
government departments in all official documents and
communications. English is generally used in trade, tourism
Ruins of St. Paul's
The Ruins of St. Paul's refer to the facade of what was
originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, destroyed
by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Paul's College, which
stood adjacent to the Church. As a whole, the old Church of
Mater Dei, St. Paul's College and Mount Fortress were all Jesuit
constructions and formed what can be perceived as the Macao's
"acropolis". Close by, the archaeological remains of the old
College of St. Paul stand witness to what was the first
western-style university in the Far East, with an elaborate
academic programme. Nowadays, the facade of the Ruins of St.
Paul's functions symbolically as an altar to the city.
A-Ma Temple already existed before the city of Macao came into
being. It consists of the Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, the
Prayer Hall, the Hall of Benevolence, the Hall of Guanyin, and
Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist pavilion). The variety of
pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities in a
single complex make A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of
Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and
multiple folk beliefs.
Macao Fisherman's Wharf is a 111,500m² park and the first-ever
cultural, themed and creative attraction in the tourism industry
of Macao. It is centrally located in the outer harbour and it is
not purely a theme park, but also combines dining, shopping,
entertainment, accommodation, convention and exhibition
facilities in one single location which takes just a 5-minute
walk from the Macao-HK Ferry Terminal and Heliport. Be it for
business or pleasure, visitors are able to find a brand new
experience in this entertainment complex.