Located in Southeast Asia, approximately 37 miles southwest of Hong Kong, Macau (also spelled Macao) consists of the Macau Peninsula as well as the small islands of Taipa and Coloane. Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. The region offers up two distinct worlds and diverse cultural differences: cobbled streets, baroque architecture, stone fortresses, peaceful gardens and parks or Vegas-style casinos and the facilities for horse and greyhound racing. Tourism and manufacturing are the most important sectors of Macau economy.
As a modern coin issuer, the country is famous for its vivid Lunar coins dedicated to the animals of the Chinese Zodiac calendar.