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Monday, September 7, 2009


Macau's historic centre was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site list in 2005, underlining its strategic and cultural importance over centuries. The mixture of colonial Portuguese architecture sits beautifully alongside its East-Asian flair.
Parts of Macau offer serenely traditional countryside, ancestral Chinese villages and pine-forested hills. Much of 'old' Macau is preserved on its islands, Taipa and Coloane, including fishing boat building yards, colonial mansions, Chinese temples and floating fisherfolk communities. Yet Macau is now famed for enticing visitors with its glitzy new Vegas-style casino resorts, both on the Macau peninsula and on the still under-construction Cotai Strip, a sliver of reclaimed land joining the islands of Taipa and Coloane.
Macau was founded in 1557 during the great era of Portuguese overseas exploration. It became the major port between the Far East and Europe and, in 1670, was confirmed as a Portuguese possession by the Chinese. Macau went into decline as a regional trading centre from the early 19th century, when the British occupied Hong Kong.