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Macau is a city on the southern coast of China. It is located at the south of Guangdong Province, on the tip of the
peninsula formed by the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xijiang (West River) on the west.
Macau is situated 60 km west of Hong Kong and 145 km southwest of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong
Province. It is immediately adjacent to the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone.
The region comprises the Macau Peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Macau was once an island
but gradually a connecting sandbar turned into a narrow isthmus. Land reclamation in the 17th century made
Macau into a peninsula, and a barrier gate was built to mark the separation between the peninsula and the
mainland. Pre-colonial records show that Macau totaled only 2.78 km² but began to increase as a result of
Portuguese settlement. Land growth has accelerated since the last quarter of the 20th century, from 15 square
kilometers in 1972 to 16.1 square kilometers in 1983 to 21.3 square kilometers in 1994. Macau's size has
gradually increased as result of continued land reclamation, especially on Taipa and Coloane. In 2000, the total
land area was approximately 23.6 km².
There is a 0.34-kilometer-long border between Macau and mainland China and a forty-kilometer-long coastline.
The main border crossing between Macau and China is the Portas do Cerco (Barrier Gate) Frontier Checkpoint
on the Macau side, and the Gongbei checkpoint on the Chinese side.
Location, size, border, and coastline
Map of Macau, Hong Kong and surrounding countriesLocation: Eastern Asia,
bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates: 22°10′N, 113°33′E
total: 28.6 km²
land: 28.6 km²
water: 0 km²
total: 0.34 km
border city: Zhuhai, Guangdong Province 0.34 km
Coastline: 40 km
Maritime claims: not specified
Terrain: generally flat
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Coloane Alto 174 m
Macau has generally flat terrain resulting from extensive land reclamation, but numerous steep hills mark the original natural land mass. The modern high-rise skyline of Macau obscures much of the
hilly landscape. The Macau skyline both defines and obscures its topography.
The Macau Peninsula is narrow in shape but varies in terrain:
The East Ocean Watching Hill, West Ocean Watching Hill, Persimmon Hill, Lotus Hill, Luosi Hill and Qingzhou Hill are famous scenic spots in Macau. The Persimmon Hill used to be a fortress
surrounded by stone walls. The fortress, which resembles an imposing European castle, is now a tourist attraction. Standing on the Persimmon Hill, one gains a panoramic view of both Macau and
the nearby Zhuhai.
The West Ocean Watching Hill, a tranquil scenic spot, is noted for the cathedral and the bishop's mansion on its top. Viewed from the Nanxi Bay in the distance, particularly against the evening glow,
the cathedral and the mansion stand in their full splendor. From the top of the Persimmon Hill, one sees the Nanxi Bay and the high rise buildings there as well as the sea and the sea - spanning
Subtropical; humid with mild winters, hot summers.
Although Macau is located in the tropics, the Siberian pressure system in the winter pushes cool air further south than in other areas of the world. Therefore, climate in Macau is best described as
subtropical like its neighbor, Hong Kong, rather than tropical. Its average year-round temperature is around 23°C. Summer average temperature is around 30°C and the highest daytime temperature
could reach 35°C. However, the heat is generally less intense than many places in mainland China due to the coastal location. Winter average is 16°C and the lowest temperature could drop to 6°C.
There is about 2,030 millimeters of rainfall annually.
Macau is exposed to tropical storms originating from the southern Pacific Ocean during the summer. Major destruction occurred in September 1874, when a devastating typhoon hit Macau and high
seas swept across the low-lying area of the peninsula.
Prevailing winds and weather types change follow the monsoon pattern. It is warm and moist when the southeast and southwest winds coming from Pacific Ocean, and typhoons are relatively
common during summertime; and is dry and slightly cold when the north winds coming from Siberia or the northern part of Mainland China.
During the transition period from northeast monsoon to southwest monsoon (March and April), the weather is moist and foggy. It is Macau's spring season. Summer is from May to September, when
the southeast and southwest monsoon prevailing. It is rather hot and rainy. The weather in autumn (the end of September and October) is sunny and warm, when the southwest monsoon withdrawing
gradually and the northeast monsoon advancing south. It is generally regarded as the most comfortable season there. Winter is from November to February next year, when the northeast monsoon
prevailing. It is mainly dry, with occasional cold fronts arriving.
Negligible. In the past, large amounts of granite were extracted from Macau's hills for use as building material.
Relying on the water supply of Xijiang River, Macau is at present suffering its worst ever crisis of salinity in freshwater during dry season in 2006 which takes place in late winter and early spring time.
The salinity level of freshwater has recently aggrandized far above the standard set up by the World Health Organization or WHO. By the end of 2007, Macau will be able to solve the problem of
tap-water supply with relatively high level of salinity after the completion of the Ping Gang project. This project is aimed at shifting the intake of raw-water on the Xijiang River 20 km upstream in order to
give a wide berth to the salt tide in the province of Guangdong.
|Map of Macau, Hong Kong
and surrounding countries
Land use and reclamation
Macau Peninsula and Ilha Verde in 1889
Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane in 1912No arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland. Because of this
deficiency, Macau's people traditionally have looked to the sea for their livelihood.
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 98% (1998 est.)
The change of total area of Macau (in km square) since the year of 1912:
Year Area of Macau Peninsula Area of Taipa Area of Coloane Area of Cotai Total area of Macau
1912 3.4＊ 2.3 5.9 —— 11.6
1936 5.2 2.6 6.0 —— 13.8
1957 5.5 3.3 6.3 —— 15.1
1986 5.8 3.7 7.1 —— 16.6
1991 6.5 4.0 7.6 —— 18.1
1996 7.7 5.8 7.6 —— 21.3
1999 7.8 6.2 7.6 —— 23.8
2000 8.5 6.2 7.6 —— 25.4
2001 8.5 6.2 7.6 3.5 25.8
2002 8.5 6.2 7.6 4.5 26.8
2003 8.7 ` 6.2 7.6 4.7 27.3
2004 8.8 6.4 7.6 4.7 27.5
2005 8.9 28.2
Dense urban environment.
Geography - note: essentially urban; one causeway and two bridges connect the two islands of Coloane and
Taipa to the peninsula on mainland
Geography of China
Macau Map - Macau Travel Info
|Macau Peninsula and Ilha
Verde in 1889
|Macau Peninsula, Taipa
and Coloane in 1912