Macau is a good example of cultural integration, but not the type of intensely hectic globalised mix you tend to see in modern cities these days. Macau is the product of a respectable homogenized blend between Portugal and China - and casino developers. Macau is a perfect example of a colony that has managed to preserve the more important elements of its heritage, whilst also concurrently successfully developing and bringing in overseas investors at the same time.
Sure, Macau does have numerous architectural legacies and the relaxed Mediterranean-like streets and cafes do have a sleepy charm, but this is just one part of Macau. Since the handover back to China in 1999 and the termination of the gambling monopoly in 2002, Macau has been developing at a monumental speed. The growing infrastructure of casinos, hotels, resorts, and other such developments are all brining a new affluence to Macau and in 2006 Macau overcame Las Vegas and officially became highest-volume gambling centre in the world. This is mainly because Macau is the only place where casinos are legal in China. With numerous other casinos and hotels still to come (Four Seasons, MGM, Grand Hyatt, City of Dreams, and Mandarin Oriental, to name but a few) Macau is only just beginning and the best is yet to come.
|Capital||Macau (also spelt: Macao) (澳门, Ou3mun4 in Cantonese, Àomén in Mandarin|
|Government||Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国)|
|Currency||Macau Pataca (MOP), also Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Renminbi (RMB) are widely used|
|Area||total: 28.2 km2|
water: 0 km2
land: 28.2 km2 (2005, increasing due to land reclamation)
|Population||453,125 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese (official languages), Chinese (Mandarin) and English (spoken in tourist areas)|
|Religion||Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none and other 35% (1997 est.)|
|Electricity||220 V, 50Hz (rounded 3-pin 5A and 15A plug and UK 13A plug)|