Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR)
General informationEnglish name:Macau Special Administrative RegionSimplified Chinese name:澳门特别行政区Traditional Chinese name:澳門特別行政區Chinese pinyin: AomenTransfer of sovereignty to the PRC: 20 December 1999 Area: 29.5 km2 (224th)Population: 544,600 (2010)Population Density:18,568/km2 (1st among the world)GDP (nominal): US$21.700 billion (2009 estimate)GDP Per capita:US$39,800 (2009)Electricity 220 V, 50Hz (rounded 3-pin 5A and 15A plug and UK 13A plug)Calling Code +853Internet TLD .moTime Zone UTC+8 Macau (also spelled Macao, 澳門, Pinyin: Àomén) is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Located across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, until 1999 Macau was an overseas territory of Portugal. The world's most densely populated place to live, Macau is best known as Asia's largest destination for gambling taking in even more revenue than Las Vegas.
Geography of MacauBesides the city itself, Macau includes the island with Taipa and Coloane, which are connected by bridges and a causeway. The mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai borders Macau to the North, and the border crossing carries heavy two-way vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone extends south to Hengqin Island, an area west of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane; the Lotus Bridge from Cotai connects to that area. There is significant movement by the local population of both Zhuhai and Macau across the border, making the two feel like twin cities.Macau is subtropical with hot summers and mild winters. Visitors should note that typhoons often strike from mid-summer to Autumn which could stop many activities there. Although winter is generally mild, there are occassional cold fronts which could make temperatures drop 10 C in a day.
Climate of MacauMacau has a humid subtropical climate, with average relative humidity between 75% and 90%. Seasonal climate is greatly influenced by the monsoons, and differences in temperature and humidity between summer and winter are marked. The average annual temperature of Macau is 22.7 °C (72.9 °F). July is the warmest month, with average temperature being 28.9 °C (84.0 °F). The coolest month is January, with average temperature 15.0 °C (59.0 °F). Located in the coastal region south of China, Macau has ample rainfall, with average annual precipitation being 2,030 millimetres (79.9 in). However, winter is mostly dry due to the monsoon from mainland China. Autumn in Macau, from October to November, is sunny and warm with low humidity. Winter (December to early March) is generally mild and sunny, although it could be chilly and rainy at times. Humidity starts to increase in spring from late March to June. In summer from July to September, the climate is warm to hot (often rising above 30 °C at daytime). The hot weather is often followed by heavy rain, thunderstorm and occasional typhoons.
Economy of MacauMacau's economy enjoyed strong growth in 2009 despite the global economic slowdown, largely on the back of strong tourism and gaming sectors. After opening up its locally-controlled casino industry to foreign competition in 2001, the territory attracted tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment, transforming Macao into the world's largest gaming center. Macau's gaming and tourism businesses were fueled by China's decision to relax travel restrictions on Chinese citizens wishing to visit Macau. By 2006, Macau's gaming revenue surpassed that of the Las Vegas strip, and gaming-related taxes accounted for more than 70% of total government revenue. This city of nearly 570,000 hosted more than 21 million visitors in 2009. Almost 51% came from mainland China. Macau's traditional manufacturing industry has virtually disappeared since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In 2009, total exports were less than US$1 billion, while gaming receipts were almost US$15 billion. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau and mainland China that came into effect on 1 January 2004 offers Macau-made products tariff-free access to the mainland, nevertheless, China remains Macau's third largest goods export market, behind Hong Kong and the United States. Macau's currency, the Pataca, is closely tied to the Hong Kong dollar, which is also freely accepted in the territory.
History of MacauIn the 16th Century China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates under strict Chinese administration. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It became Portuguese colony effectively after the treaty signed by Qing and Portuguese Government in 1887. It was also the last, when pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau for at least fifty years after the transfer of sovereignty and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.Like the Hong Kong SAR, Macau has its own government, passports, visas, postal system and currency.
Administrative divisionsMacau was geographically divided into three regions: the peninsula and two islands. However, reclamation of the area between Taipa and Coloane has created the fourth region of Cotai.Districts of Macau Macau Peninsula (澳門半島 O Mun Pun To) Taipa (氹仔 Tam Chai) Cotai (路氹 Lou Tam) Coloane (路環 Lou Wan)
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of MacauMacau’s unique attractions, world heritage, and fascinating museums add an irreplaceable dimension to a vibrant coastal city renowned as one of the finest holiday getaways in the region. The inscription of Macau’s historic center on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005 internationally affirmed the importance of nearly five centuries of cultural and architectural exchange between Portugal and China. Locations like Plaza Senado, the Ruins of St. Paul’s, and the picturesque villages of Taipa and Coloane remind visitors that the port of Macau has long been a triumph of human cooperation and unity. From the ancient temples, fortresses, and churches to peaceful beaches and hilltop hikes to modern-day monuments like the Macau Tower, there are many attractions to see in Macau.
A-Ma TempleMacau's name is derived from A-Ma-Gau or Place of A-Ma and this temple dedicated to the seafarers' goddess dates from the early 16th century. According to legend, A-Ma, a poor girl looking for passage to Canton, was refused by the wealthy junk owners but a lowly fisherman took her on board. A storm blew up and wrecked all but the boat carrying the girl. On arrival in Macau she vanished, to reappear as a goddess, on the spot where the fishermen built her temple.
Guia FortressGuia Fortress, built in 1637-38, occupies the top of Guia Hill, the highest point in Macau.It was designed to defend Macau from attacks from the sea, but because of its position overlooking the entire city, its chief value has been as an observation post.It originally contained barracks, a water cistern, ammunition and equipment stores, the commander's house, and a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guia. Today the Fort's most prominent feature is the lighthouse, built in 1865 and the oldest on the China coast. It is 91 metres high and has a light which can be seen for around 20 miles in clear weather. Near the lighthouse is the chapel which contains an image of the Virgin Mary, a few antique pictures, and vestiges of paintings that date back to the construction of the chapel in 1626. Also nearby is a post where signals are hoisted to warn of an approaching typhoon. In earlier times storm warnings were announced from the bell-tower of the chapel.
Senado SquareThe Senado square is paved with a wave-patterned mosaic of coloured stones, created by Portuguese experts. From the main road to the church of St. Dominic, the pavement extends to the ruins of St. Paul's, making the heart of the city a pedestrian paradise.
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