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Mice Net : February 2009
Gala dinner set up at Taipa House meet in macau Story by Johanna Mc Macau is a captivating city for visitors and has been for hundreds of years. Originally a small fishing port, Macau was part of the mighty Silk Road because of its ideal position at the mouth of the Pearl River. In the early 1550s the Portuguese settled and set up a trading post in Macau which during this time was called “Ou Mun”, or “trading gate”. Ships would load precious cargo like silks bound for ancient Rome, Japan, China, India and Europe. It’s easy to see why Portuguese merchant- explorers decided to call this destination home. With friendly locals, a great climate and enticing cuisine there was no reason to sail away. Locals called Macau “A Ma Gao”, meaning a place of A Ma, in honour of the Goddess of Seafarers. The Portuguese merchants adopted this name, which eventually evolved into Macau. The settlers were soon joined by missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church to continue the work of St Francis Xavier, who died nearby after converting many in Japan to Catholicism. As a result of the Catholic influence, churches, fortresses and a Christian college were built which give the city its historical European appearance today. 164 mice.net As Portugal’s golden age in Asia faded and rivals such as the British and Dutch took over much of their trade, the Chinese continued to do business with the Portuguese. Macau was used as a recreational retreat for European merchants who would spend part of the year in Guangzhou (Canton) buying tea and Chinese luxuries. Europe’s trade with China grew and for more than a century the East India Company and others settled in rented houses like the prestigious Casa Garden. Britain established Hong Kong following the Opium War in 1841 and as a result most of the foreign merchants left Macau, which became a quiet backwater. The city retained a leisurely multicultural existence and became a popular stopover for international travellers, writers and artists who made use of its historical buildings. Macau became an ideal crossroads for the meeting of eastern and western cultures, and this still rings true today. The city has developed industries in textiles, electronics and toys as well as forming a world-class tourism industry that has assets such as high quality hotels, resorts, sporting facilities, entertainment centres and casinos. Kinnon Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China and is located 60 kilometres from Hong Kong on the south east coast of China. Macau has been transformed into an integrated resort city while still hanging on to its historical culture and Portuguese influence. The city, while dotted with new developments and construction sites, features buildings that are hundreds of years old. The city’s skyline is growing at an unprecedented rate with development including large scale resorts and entertainment complexes. Already Macau is home to one of the largest exhibition spaces in the world – 75,000 square metres of space – and it presently provides more than 20 properties offering high quality accommodation and meeting facilities. This number continues to grow with more developments on reclaimed land of The Cotai Strip. Some developments and hotel openings have been postponed due to the current global economic situation, but progress is looking strong for later in 2009. The Cotai Strip is located on reclaimed land between the islands of Taipa and Coloane. It’s accessible by three major bridges and is