Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China. Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong-Kong which is to the east, bordering Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south. The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, but also includes manufacturing. Macau is a former Portuguese colony, and is both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of “one country, two systems”, the PRC’s Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty.
The Guia Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the coast of China. Constructed in 1864 it was completed in 1865. Macau takes its coordinates from the exact location of Guia Lighthouse. Originally, the light beam was lit by paraffin, operated through a wooden wheel and a rope to make the lantern rotate. Carlos Vicente da Rocha, a Macau-born Portuguese, designed the light. In 1874, the lighthouse was damaged by a typhoon and stopped operating for over 30 years. After long repair works including the installation of mirror reflectors, the lighthouse went into operation again on 29th June 1910 and it has been in smooth operation ever since. The lighthouse is a 15-metre high tower with a radius of 7 metres at the base narrowing upwards to 5 metres. The light transmitter is accessed by a spiral flight of stairs inside. The tower has a simple rustic exterior. At the top, there is a circular observation platform, 7 metres in diameter, where the lantern is installed.