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The City of Casinos

  • General Information

    Other Name: Las Vegas of East, District: Macau, State: SOUTH CHINA, China
    Area: 28.2 km2
    Languages Spoken: Cantonese
    Long Distance Code: +853
    Importance: It serves as tourist destination and its economy is based on tourism industry.
    Best Time to Visit: October to December and April
    International Access: well connected with main land China and other cities of the world by air.
  • Description

    Macau's economy is based largely on tourism, much of it geared toward gambling. Other chief economic activities in Macau are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other financial services.
  • Location

    Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province in the north and facing the South China Sea in the east and south.
  • Climate

    Humid Subtropical Climate
Approximately four hundred years ago the Portuguese landed on a sea promontory near a temple. They asked the local inhabitants the name of the land, but the locals misunderstood, thinking that the Portuguese were asking for the name of the temple. So they answered 'Ma Ge', which was the name of the temple. Later, the Portuguese translated the named into 'Macau' and used it to refer to the land. In actuality, this temple is one of the three famous Buddha halls in Macau- the A-Ma Temple.

The A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macau Peninsula, is the oldest temple in Macau. It was constructed in the year of 1488 of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses the fishermen of Macau. It is said that the goddess was called Lin Mo, and that she was born in Putian City, Fujian Province, and was more intelligent than other children her age. She could predict good or ill luck and after her death she often helped merchants and fishermen ward off calamities and turn danger into safety. Now there are a number of folktales about the great goddess narrated in the littoral lands.

The A-Ma Temple is a destination offering silence and spectacular views. The temple contains six main parts, all of which make up a series of classical Chinese architectural treasures, and this is all guarded by stone lions. Entering the temple and going across a gateway, you will reach the Hongren Hall by a winding path. A statue of Mazu is worshipped here, and it is believed that the hall has the longest history in the complex. Going ahead, the Hall of Avalokitesvara will present itself to visitors. It was constructed mainly using bricks and stone in a simple style. Compared with the other halls, the Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist hall) was designed tastefully both in regards to size and architectural style.

Containing not only an ancient architectural complex, the temple also possesses a measure of the rich and profound Chinese culture. It is worth your while to stay and enjoy the various poems and inscriptions carved on the stone along the cliff. Furthermore, each year, on the days of the birthday of Mazu and the Chinese New Year, many male and female disciples gather here. They burn lots of incense to pay homage and pray for good fortune.

Camoes Garden and Grotto, or just Camoes Garden as well, is one of Macau's oldest parks. The park is also Macau's largest, covering an area of nearly 20,000 square meters (about 24,000 square yards).

Camoes Garden was originally the house of a Portuguese merchant who enjoyed raising pigeons. His house served as a beautiful backdrop to the hundreds of flying pigeons that he raised. From afar, the pavilions and buildings in the compound looked like nests. After the death of the merchant, his residence was donated to the government, commemorating the great Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes, which is where the name of the garden comes from.

Camoes Grotto, the most famous sight in the garden, houses the bust of the poet Luis de Camoes. Because of peeving the court officials, he was exiled from his country and lived in Macau for two years. He often came to the park and framed up his poems. Here he composed the noted epic Os Lusíadas (Soul of Portugal). Macau people show great respect to him. June 10th, the day Camoes died, was declared 'Portugal Day' by the government. On that day every year, Portuguese in Macau assemble in the park to celebrate the holiday and remember the poet.

The small mountains, the topping trees, the flourishing grass and flowers will all capture your imagination as you walk through the garden. Standing in the park is the bronze statue 'Embrace' which symbolizes the friendship between China and Portugal. As you walk along the winding paths, you will reach the highest point in the park, the Gazebo, where you can enjoy the striking views of the inner harbor. Looking north, you will see a man-made fountain built in 1990.

Camoes Garden is a popular spot for locals to do their morning exercises, to play chess, to walk their caged birds (a Chinese custom) or to meet with friends. It's an oasis in the busy city
The Grand Prix Museum in Macau contains exhibits that are related to Grand Prix worldwide including photos, videos, illustrated articles, cups, records of champions and some commemorative items. It was built in 1933 in memory of the 40th anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in Macau and is located in the Tourism Activities Center on Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes.

The Macau Grand Prix now enjoys a history of over 50 years starting in 1954. The museum with its many items focusing on the competition has become a must-see place for F1 enthusiasts. More than twenty formula cars and motorcycles once driven by world-renowned drivers such as Eduarfo de Carvalho, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, are on exhibition. The most eye-catching one is the racing car placed in the center of the hall. It was once driven by Aryton Senna, a famous formula car driver who died at the 1994 San Marino GP. It is a red and white Formula 3 racing car along with his racing cloth and helmet are displayed.

In addition, the projection device in the museum can help visitors better understand the museum and the history of the Grand Prix racing competition. Some breathtaking scenes of GP in Macau as well as in other countries are on display. If you like, two racing car simulators enable you to experience racing on the challenging tracks at an extreme high speed.

In order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Macau Grand Prix, the museum was renovated in the charge of the Macau Tourism Bureau. An introduction to and basic knowledge of some people who made a great contribution to the Macau Grand Prix can be found in the museum
Lou Lim Lok Garden is located in central Macau Peninsula, with an area of 1.78 hectares (about 4.4 acres). It is the only Suzhou style garden in Macau. The garden boasts elegant and peaceful scenes just south of the Yangtze River. This area is known as Jiangnan in Chinese. The garden enlisted in the top eight scenes of Macau in 1992.

Construction of Lou Lim Lok Garden by a wealthy merchant began in 1904 and continued until 1925. It was once the largest private garden in Macau as well as one of the top three beautiful gardens of Macau. This gave the garden widespread popularity. After the merchant's fortunes dwindled, parts of the garden were gradually sold off. In early 1970s, the government of Macau obtained and restored the garden. In 1974, Lou Lim Lok Garden opened to the public.

The elaborately designed scenes in the garden are entrancing. Upon entering, guests will find an old-time archway, followed by paths bordered with flowers and bamboos.

Qingcao Hall (Green Grass Hall) in the center of the garden is the focal piece of architecture, and together with the marvelous pavilions, cloisters, ponds, bridges and rockeries, makes the garden a tridimensional landscape picture. This hall is a masterpiece harmoniously blending Chinese and Western culture. The fence is bright scarlet, a color favored by Chinese, whereas the wall is painted in beige, a color favored by Portuguese. The corridor pillars are Gothic style, with European style engravings of white flower patterns at the top. During Sun Yat-sen's second visit to Macau in 1915, he stayed in this hall and met with many celebrities.

An elegant nine-turn bridge sits above the small pond in the front of the hall. In the centre of the pond stands stone figure of an ancient-time beauty. Stream water pours from the rockery top down to the pond, creating wonderful waterfalls. There are crowds of fish playing about under lotus leaves in the pond. Many visitors enjoy sitting on stone stools in the shade under the weeping willows and looking into the pond. There visitors can enjoy a nice rest and take in the beautiful scenes
Of all the forts in Macau, the Monte Fort is the oldest, lying to the east of the Ruins of St. Paul's. Built in 1616, it originally belonged to St. Paul's Church and was used to defend the church from the pirates. It later became solely a military fort.

The fort is quadrilateral with bastions at each corner and about 100 meters (328 feet) in circumference. Barracks, cisterns and storehouses were the main buildings of the fort. An ancient tower situated here was one of the sites of the Society of Jesus. With cannons on the four sides, the fort was strongly fortified. Though the cannons have lost their military function, they still remain.

In 1838, a fire destroyed the fort buildings as well as the Jesuit College and St. Paul's Church. Only see the fore wall of the church now remains and is known as the Ruins of St. Paul's.

In 1965, a single-storey barrack in South European style was transformed into the Macau Meteorological Bureau. To its right hangs an ancient bell made by an expert in casting cannons. In 1998, the Macau Museum was established here, detailing the development and the customs of Macau.

The landscape surrounding the fort is quite charming. Standing on the platform, visitors have an excellent view across Macau, making the Monte Fort a very popular attraction for both tourists and natives alike.
Inaugurated on December 25, 1995, the Wine Museum aimed to introduce the development of brewing culture of wine to visitors. The museum occupies an area of 1400 square meters with a collection of more than 1115 brands of wine (756 commercial wines and 359 collection wines), in which "Martle" produced in 1815 is the earliest one.

Combining culture, amusement and education into a complete entity, the museum is divided into three main parts: the area of the history of wine-making, the area of the collection of wine and that of wine display. These sections systematically introduces the brewery, the history of the growth of grape and the tools and utensils used for brewery, presenting to the visitor the modern and traditional tools connected to the wine production.

Among the newly brewed wine, about 50 varieties of them are offered for tasting, which provides people a rare chance to experience the famous wine.

There is another group of exhibits of porcelain bricks decorated with colored drawings belonging to the 18th century in the museum, in which some are original and some are replica. The drawings on the porcelain bricks concern grape wine and vineyard.

In addition, a set of mannequins was displayed with various regional dresses of different regions of Portugal.

The museum brings the visitor into contact with the development of the wine brewery as well as the social, economical and cultural importance of the wine in the Portuguese tradition, daily life and celebration rituals
The Ruins of St. Paul's (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik) stands adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum. The front façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church in Macau.

First constructed in 1580, St. Paul's Church caught fires in 1595 and 1601. However, reconstruction started in 1602 soon after the church was burnt down. Completed in 1637, the church became the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. Unfortunately, a violent typhoon hit Macau in 1835 and the church caught fire for the third time leaving its glory a history. According to historical materials, St Paul's Church, built with white stones, had a grand vaulted roof. It had three magnificently decorated halls.

Built with granites, Sam Ba Sing Tzik has a baroque facade rich in ornamentation but with classic oriental characteristics. From the bottom up, the structure has five tiers. The first tier is comprised of ten Ionic columns with three entrances. The entrance in the middle has 'MATER DEI' carved into it. The two entrances on each side are decorated with bas-reliefs in the pattern of 'HIS'. The second tier features ten Corinthian columns with three windows. A Catholic saint is enshrined in each of four tabernacles between columns. The two tiers as a whole is said to represent the Society of Jesus and the activities of missionaries.

The remaining three tiers are the most decorated. The statue of Madonna stands in the middle of the third tier, while the statue of Jesus stands on the fourth. The walls are covered with bas-reliefs in various patterns like devils, angels, symbols of crucifixion, a Portuguese sailing ship, etc. The triangular combination of the upper three tiers reflects the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary. A cross stands at the coping of the wall.

It is worth mentioning that the stone lions at the sides of the third and fourth tiers are distinctively Chinese. There are also bas-reliefs in designs of chrysanthemum and cherry, as well as Chinese inscriptions. The surviving façade has long been acknowledged as a perfect fusion of western and eastern cultures.

The Ruins of St. Paul's has been restored during 1990 and 1995. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was also built at that time. It has exhibitions of religions artworks including paintings, sculptures and statues.