The Portuguese began settling and trading in the southwest part of the Macau peninsula in the middle of 16th century. As a sub-sequence, Macau developed into an important port in China open to outside world before the 19th century and an important port in Asia.
Having its prosperity in the international trade, it attracted many people for settling here from different countries of the world. These people in turn brought different social customs, cultures and regions to this area and they built houses, streets, fort and churches. This area is the core part of what is now known as Historic Center of Macau.
These People at the same time introduced the culture, religion and social customs to the Chinese people. Macau was the window through which the foreign countries get to know about China. Since then the Macau has become the place where China meets the cultures of the western world.
Macau has been the place where the cultures from East and West exchanges for over 400 years. You can find the best preserved and oldest western style buildings having different architectural styles emerging after the Renaissance from the neo-classical to Baroque. You can also find many western religious buildings exhibiting various features of different religions. The architecture of these buildings absorbed the cultures of China and India and added the characteristics into these buildings. You can also find the murals in the Guia Chapel painted in Chinese styles. The residential buildings and temples make the architectural style of the Historic Center diverse. Till date, the people of this area have their own habits and believe. They also continued to have their own traditions and celebrations which combine the western and Chinese elements and cultures.
You can find much Portuguese non-religious architecture, some Chinese residential, some churches and religious buildings and streets and squares connecting them. There are various buildings, walls, forts, churches and temples. The Historic Center of Macau provides a proof of the exchange of western culture, religious influence and architecture between East and West. Is unique value has made it listed in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage site in the year 2005.