A place named Rossio, delicious custard tarts, baroque architecture, cobblestone pavements with black and white designs — but it’s not Lisbon. Gambling is the main attraction and there’s a monumental casino named The Venetian — but it’s not Las Vegas. That place is Macao, a Chinese territory not far from Hong Kong that was a Portuguese colony for almost five centuries until 1999. It was the first and last European colony in China but its present status as the world’s gambling capital (it has surpassed Las Vegas) has made people forget its ties to Portugal. Yet Portugal is everywhere, with reminders of Lisbon in every corner. Restaurants fuse Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, the European-style architecture has been preserved amid modern skyscrapers and flashy casinos, its main landmark casino is named “Lisboa,” there’s a sophisticated restaurant called “Rossio,” and everything from the old street lights to the pavements are just like those of Lisbon. Although it will be a decade at the end of this year since it became part of China, Macao remains the Portuguese capital of Asia, perhaps even more so than Goa in India.
On the video below you may see how the now-Chinese territory is still very much Portuguese-inspired despite its new role as an international gambling mecca. You’ll see that the Portuguese influences are still preserved in what remains from the past, but also provide the ingredients to make this a unique place in the present and the future.
(See also our other Lisbon in the World posts.)