Known by many as the Asia’s gaming capital with its many casinos, Macau is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 20 important and well-preserved historical locations. Among the most noticeable attractions are the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and Largo do Senado (Senate Square) which are known as the heart of old Macau.
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Macau Historic Centre
The Historic Centre of Macau is a great example of how Europe can successfully blend with Asia as in Macau Europeans and Asians have lived and traded with each other in harmony for a long time and still do so today. Macau was a Portuguese settlement and a stronghold of Christianity in Asia from the mid-16th century as well as displaying Chinese influences through a number of its buildings and gardens. All are connected or linked along the island’s narrow streets, old mosaic pathways and squares and walking round, discovering architectural and cultural gems makes up a lot of the island’s appeal to visitors.
Venetian Macao Casino
This is currently the biggest casino in the world with a vast selection of 800 gambling tables and a couple of thousand slot machines from four differently themed gaming sections (total area well over 550,000 square feet!). The $2.3 billion project has 3,000 luxury hotel suites, more than one million square feet of retail space, huge event venues (large enough to hold 90 Boeing 747 jumbo jets) and entertainment. In short, it is the biggest building in Asia. In the first 24 hours of it operating the Venetian drew in 114,000 people and daily visitation recoreds show that between an amazing 50,000 – 80,000+ people visit.
Guia Fort and Lighthouse overlooks Macau from the summit of Guia Hill. The fort was built in 1865 and was the chief observation post during colonial times, designed to defend the city. It is well preserved and contains barracks, a water cistern, an ammunition cache, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guia as well as the commander’s house and storage area. It’s worth taking the cable car (the smallest in the world) up here because of the great views over the city and sea and also because of the enjoyable hiking along the trails that lead away from the fort into the surrounding hills.
Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Foutain Show
The Cybernetic Fountain is the largest manmade water fountain in Asia. Through its 86 water spouts, the main cannon shoots a spray of water 80 metres high. The Cybernetic Fountain also sports a laser show and the sight of 288 coloured spotlights shining through falling water is certainly impressive. The laser show is free to the public but make sure you check the schedule to go to see it at the right night.
Taipa Village is a small and peaceful community with narrow streets, markets and great Macanese food. Portuguese-style offices, ancient temples and colonial villas blend effortlessly amongst old-fashioned street lamps, hanging flower baskets and street vendors. Food Street which is also known as the Rua da Cunhna, draws many people over to the south of the island, eager to savour the true taste of Macau. Of course, there are several casinos (ubiquitous to Macau) and the Macau Jockey Club where you can watch races in air-conditioned comfort, but local charm wins out here. You’ll also find the ruin of Sao Paulo Church here – a single standing facade with no church behind it; unusual to say the least.
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