Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Two Faces of Macau - Part 1: Old Time Colonial Islands

Macau is a territory consisting of two islands in the Pearl River Delta, just off the coast of mainland China. It was a Portuguese colony from the 1550s until 1999, when it was given back to China. Today it is a SAR (Special Administrative Region) just like Hong Kong. You will need to have a passport with you when visiting Macau. The trip from Hong Kong takes one hour by high speed ferry.

The ruins of St Paul's Cathedral (built in 1602 
and destroyed by fire in 1835)

Today, Macau is a kaleidoscopic mix of old and new.  Here is a glimpse 
of the old town, with a casino looming large in the background.

The entrance to the old Portuguese fort.

Old cannons stand guard at the fort. 
The Grand Lisboa Casino looks on.

Old colonial buildings are today occupied by 
souvenir shops and yes, a Starbucks.

Huge crowds roam the narrow streets of the old town. 
Most of the visitors are from China and Hong Kong.

St. Dominic's Cathedral, another beautiful example 
of Portuguese colonial architecture. 

Bright lanterns on the street

The seamless blending of two cultures

Signs, including street names are both in Chinese and Portuguese.

After having explored the old town, we headed down to the water to see the new Macau. It was definitely a big change! Coming up in The Two Faces of Macau - Part 2: The Modern Gambling Mecca.

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