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About Macau

About Macau

Macau is bordered with Zhuhai of Mainland by land and is surrounded by ocean. It consists of Macau peninsula, Taipa and Coloane islands.

* Please click the above figure to get a larger/printable picture.

A Brief History of Macau
Fishermen from Fujian and farmers from Guangdong were the first known settlers in Macau, when it was known as Ou Mun, or "trading gate", because of its location at the mouth of the Pearl River downstream from Guangzhou (Canton). During ancient times port city was part of the Silk Road with ships loading here with silk for Rome.

Even after China ceased to be a world trade centre, Guangzhou prospered from seaborne business with the countries of Southeast Asia, so the local entrepreneurs welcomed the arrival of Portuguese merchant-explorers. They followed in the wake of Jorge Alvares, who landed in southern China in 1513, and set about finding suitable trading posts.

In the early 1550s the Portuguese reached Ou Mun, which the locals also called A Ma Gao, "place of A Ma", in honor of the Goddess of Seafarers, whose temple stood at the entrance to the sheltered Inner Harbor. The Portuguese adopted the name, which gradually changes into the name Macau, and with the permission of Guangdong's mandarins, established a city that within a short time had become a major entrepot for trade between China, Japan, India and Europe.

It also became the perfect crossroad for the meeting of East and West cultures. The Roman Catholic church sent some of its greatest missionaries to continue the work of St Francis Xavier, (who died nearby after making many converts in Japan). A Christian college was built, beside what is now today's Ruins of St Paul's, where students such as Matteo Ricci prepared for their work as Christian scholars at the Imperial Court in Beijing. Other churches were built, as well as fortresses, which gave the city an historical European appearance that distinguishes it to this day.

Portugal's golden age in Asia faded as rivals like the Dutch and British took over their trade. However the Chinese chose to continue to do business through the Portuguese in Macau, so for over a century the British East India Company and others set up shop here in rented houses like the elegant Casa Garden. As Europe's trade with China grew, the European merchants spent part of the year in Guangzhou, buying tea and Chinese luxuries at the bi-annual fairs, using Macau as a recreational retreat.

Following the Opium War in 1841, Hong Kong was established by Britain and most of the foreign merchants left Macau, which became a quaint, quiet backwater. Nevertheless it has continued to enjoy a leisurely multicultural existence and make daily, practical use of its historical buildings, in the process becoming a favorite stopover for international travelers, writers and artists.

In modern times Macau has developed industries such as textiles, electronics and toys, as well as building up a world class tourist industry with a wide choice of hotels, resorts, sports facilities, restaurants and casinos. As in the past, Macau's economy is closely linked to that of Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, in particular the Pearl River Delta region, which qualifies as one of Asia's "little tigers". Macau provides financial and banking services, staff training, transport and communications support.

Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since 20 December 1999, and, like Hong Kong, benefits from the principle of "one country, two systems". The tiny SAR is growing in size - with more buildings on reclaimed land - and in the number and diversity of its attractions. The greatest of these continues to be Macau's unique society, with communities from the East and West complementing each other, and the many people who come to visit.

Passport and Visas
All visitors must hold a passport or a valid travel document. If travel arrangements are made through an agent, the visa processing is handled by Macau tour operators.

A. Visas are required by all visitors except:
a) Residents of Macau
b) Nationals of Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Croatia, Czech, Cyprus,
    Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland,
    Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico,
    Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak, Slovenia, South Korea,
    Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and the United Kingdom (6 months) for a stay up to 90 days
c) Nationals of Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Malaysia,
    Monaco, Namibia, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa,
    Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United States of America and Uruguay for a stay up to 30
d) Nationals of China with valid Macau entry/depart documents, including residents of Mainland
    China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas Chinese for a stay of up to 30 days
e) The "Hong Kong Identity Card" (with symbol "*", "***" or "R"), "Hong Kong Permanent Identity
    Card" or "Hong Kong Reentry Permit" holders may stay in Macau for a maximum period of
    one year
f) Holders of Diplomatic Passport or "Laissez Passer" issued by the United Nations
g) Holders of Consulate/Diplomatic documents issued by the Macau SAR or Hong Kong SAR

B. Visas can be obtained from the Immigration Services through Embassies/Consulates
    of the PRC and should be used within the validity, the visa is expired after the valid

C. Visas are also available on arrival in Macau at the Immigration Services for a period
    of 30 days
(There are three types)
a) Individual - MOP$100, for individual traveler for a single stay of up to 30 days in Macau,
    children under 12 years of age pay MOP$50.
b) Family - MOP$200 for couples, husband travelling with wife and or children (under 12 years of
    age) of same surname or on proof of their relationship.
c) Group - MOP$50 per person for bonafide groups of 10 or more and children aged 12 or under.

For further information, please call the Macau Immigration Services of Public Security Police Force: (Macau Area code) 853 - 2872 5488 or visit the website:

For those who want to travel to mainland China, visas may be obtained at any of the China Travel Service (CTS) offices counters in Macau (the main branch is located at Rua de Nagazaki, 35 (tel.853-2870 0888) or at the Gongbei Immigration and Customs (after the Border Gate).

Portuguese passport holders who need the consulate's assistance may go to the Portuguese Consulate located at Rua Pedro Nolasco da Silva, 45, or call Tel: (853) 2835 6660/1/2 or fax: (853) 2835 6658.

Note: most of the above information is adapted from Macau government websites. For more information, please visit the following websites.
1. More about Macau:
2. Macau city guide:
3. Macau World Heritage:
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