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Knowing Macao
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Introduction to Macao

As a small fishing village, Macao was originally named as Hao Jing or Hao Jing Ao, because the port then was called "Ao". Macao and the surrounding areas were teeming with Hao (i.e. oyster). The inner wall of oyster shell is as shiny as mirror, so Macao got the name of Hao Jing (oyster mirror), and the later generations changed it into a more elegant homophone. From this name, some aliases of Macao such as Hao Jiang, Hai Jing and Jing Hai were derived.

The name of Macao originated from Goddess of the Sea, who was worshipped by Chinese fishermen. The descendants built a temple for the Goddess at the place where she came ashore.

When the Portuguese reached here in the mid 16 th century, they asked the locals about the name of the location, but the locals had a misunderstanding that the Portuguese asked the name of the temple. The answer is "Ma Ge", and according to the pronunciation, the Portuguese transformed it into " MACAU ", the Portuguese name of Macao . In the following 400 years, eastern and western cultures blended well in this city, and a large number of historic and cultural heritages were sustained, endowing Macao with distinct features.

Since December 20, 2019 , Macao has become a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China . Under the "One Country, Two Systems" policy, Macao has been enjoying a high degree of autonomy as well as the rights of administration, legislation, independent justice and final adjudication. Macao 's social and economic characteristics will be preserved and carried on.

With small area, Macao is one of the most densely populated regions in the world, and has reached high income per capita compared with other Asian regions.

Location

The Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) is a part of China 's territory. It is located in the Pearl River Delta at southeast coast of China . Bordering on Guangdong Province , it is 60 km from Hong Kong and 145 km from Guangzhou .

Area

Due to land reclamation along its coastline, Macao has expanded its land area from 10.28 km 2 in the 19 th century to 28.6 km 2 today, which is equal to one fortieth of Hong Kong and one twenty-third of Singapore . Macao consists of the Macao peninsula and the two islands of Taipa and Coloane. Macao peninsula adjoins Mainland China in the north, and three bridges (i.e. Nobre de Carvalho Bridge, Friendship Bridge (Ponte da Amizade) and Sai Van Bridge) in the south link the peninsula to Taipa, while the two islands are connected by the six-lane 2.2 km Taipa-Coloane Causeway.

Chinese and Western Cultures and Customs

Before the 19 th century, Macao was one of the major ports of China as well as an important port in Asia for international trade. Along with the flourishing of trade, Macao attracted many people around the world; hence, a city where the people from Europe , Asia , Africa and America were mixed together came into being.

As the earliest, most frequent and most important place in China for having access to modern western articles and culture, Macao was regarded as a bridgehead for China to contact western culture. Meanwhile, the foreigners living in Macao , through various media, introduced to other countries the Chinese culture, ideologies and customs they had known in Macao - a gateway for foreign countries to learn about China .

A large number of China's pioneering undertakings were initiated in Macao, e.g. the first western style university (Colégio de Sao Paulo), the first western style hospital (St. Raphael's Hospital), the first western style printing house (Printing House Attached to Colégio de Sao Paulo), the first newspaper in foreign language (A Abelha da China).

During the past 400 years, various communities were established in the Historic Centre of Macao with joint efforts of the Chinese and Portuguese, representing the architectural features of Chinese style and western style buildings and the blending of different religions, cultures, habits and customs of the Chinese and Portuguese. The affectionate, unsophisticated and comprehensive community culture has become the most valuable characteristic of Macao .

World Heritage

On July 15, 2019 , at the 29th Conference of World Heritage Committee held in Durban , South Africa , "The Historic Centre of Macao" was recognized and became China 's 31 st item of world heritages. In the selection of Top Five Most Beautiful Ancient City Blocks of China by Chinese National Geography Magazine, Macao ranked the third place. In the Historic Centre, there are 25 historic buildings, where the Macao residents assemble and live. These sites are appealing to tourists.

The Historic Centre of Macao includes the oldest western architectural heritage in China today, and represents the combination of eastern and western architectural techniques.

The Historic Centre of Macao witnesses the development of western religions and cultures in China and the Far East , and testifies the historic origin of China 's folk religions spreading to the western world.

The Historic Centre of Macao is the reflection of diversified coexistence of Chinese and western cultures, constituting the unique blend of cultural heritages existing in China 's historic cities.

The Historic Centre of Macao presents an orderly integration of Chinese and western communities, which have been indispensable to the habits, customs and traditions of the residents from different places since ancient times.

The Historic Centre of Macao has the best preservation reflecting the exchange between Chinese and western cultures in the past 400 years. It is China's oldest and biggest historic area with rich and centralized European and Chinese architectural heritages while European style buildings take the dominating place; it not only witnesses the spreading of western religions and cultures in China and the Far East, but displays the exchange, mutual supplementation and coexistence of Chinese and western cultures.


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