Macau is today a major Boom Town and the gambling capital of the world, recently surpassing even Las Vegas. It prints its own currency, which means that after gambling all your money, you'll have to change it if you want to take it to China with youTraveler's tip . It is also famous for the Ruins of St. Paul's, Portuguese salty egg tart, egg roll and its mix of Portuguese culture as well as colonial architecture. In fact, quite a few Macau people have mixed Portuguese ancestry.
The majority of Macau is on an urban island (technically, they're two, but they have been joined by a strip), except for a part in the mainland. It's divided in four regions:
- Macau Peninsula - The mainland's northern part. You have to cross huge bridges to get to the island from here. This is where most of the gambling casinos and touristic places can be found.
- Taipa - The northern island, mostly covered by a residential area where the people of Macau live.
- Cotai - A strip of land constructed to join the island of Taipa and the island of Coloane. Works as a sort of buffer between the islands. Recently, they have started to build giant new casinos here. Its name comes from the islands it joins (Coloane-Taipa).
- Coloane - The southern island is less hospitable, full of mountains, beaches and a natural reserve. Probably because of its mysterious nature, it was used as a pirate's hideout in the old days.
Besides those, there is also the Macau New Urban Zone (a series of 6 disperse landfills, 4 of which have already been completed, and 2 still being done) and the University of Macau Campus Area (which is technically part of the neighbouring Zhuhai, but the Chinese Central Government has rented its land to the Macau government, and Macau law applies there).
During the colonial era, the Peninsula was the City of Macau (or rather, Cidade do (Santo) Nome de Deus de Macau, Não Há Outra Mais Leal - "City of the (Holy) Name of God of Macau, There Is None Other More Loyal", because of Macau being the only city not to pledge allegiance to the Phillips of Spain when they were also Kings of Portugal during the Iberian Union - its local government was the Leal Senado or Loyal Senate) while Taipa and Coloane were both towns (and, with Cotai, part of the Municipality of the Islands).
The islands of Lapa, Dom João and Montanha (in Chinese, Xiao Hengqin, Dao Hengqin and Wanzai, respectively) were disputed between Macau and China, although before World War II it was the Portuguese who provided government services such as schools, leper colonies and missionaries, granted protection and collected taxes. In 1938 the Portuguese military officially occupied the three islands, but were forced out by the Japanese in 1941 and, later, the Chinese got them back. Nowadays, all three are part of Zhuhai, with Wanzai being united to the mainland via a landfill, and Xiao and Dao Hengqin being united to one another in the same manner and are now known as just Hengqin (which is where the University of Macau Campus Area is located).
The Macanese flag
The Chinese national anthem
- Devolved executive-led system within a socialist republic
- Chief Executive: Ho Iat Seng
- Administration and Justice Secretary: Cheong Weng Chon
- Assembly President: Kou Hoi In
- Court President: Sam Hou Fai
- Capital: Macau
- Largest parish: Nossa Senhora de Fátima
- Population: 682,800
- Area: 115.3 km² (44.5 sq mi)
- Currency: Macanese pataca (MOP$) (MOP)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: MO