Located on the southeast coast of China, Macau is a special administrative region of the country. As Asia’s gambling Mecca, it is also known as the “Oriental Las Vegas”. The name of the city is derived from the word Magao (from the A-Ma Temple), which was the shrine dedicated to Mazu, a sacred sea goddess respected by the local people. In Macau, life is steeped in traditional Chinese culture with lots of room for Portuguese expression in its architecture.
According to legend, in the middle of the 16th century, when the Portuguese first set foot on the land, one of the officers asked a fisherman the name of the land. The man misunderstanding the officer’s question, answered ‘Magao’ referring to the name of the A-Ma Temple in front of them. The word became the Portuguese name for the land and for nearly 400 years, the Portuguese governed it before officially returning to China in 1999 as a special administrative region.
Macau is quite small and of its almost 500,000 population 95% are Chinese; the remainder is Portuguese and other westerners. The majority resides on the Macau Peninsula where there are a variety of both Oriental and Western cultural and historical places of interest and old buildings that are either European baroque or traditional Chinese in style.
This blend of people, culture and history has influenced every aspect of life in the city. Wandering around the peninsula will bring visitors into a world of antiques and fashion, and a run-in with glitz, tranquility. With its clean streets, gardens, picturesque hilly landscapes, abundant sunshine, clean air, and greenlands, Macau will likely entice visitors to consider relocating there. Wandering around the city is the best way to explore the city’s numerous historical and cultural heritages.