The Macau Peninsula is the most populous and historic part of Macau. It has an area of 8.5 square kilometers (3.3 sq mi) (4 by 1.8 kilometers (2.5 mi × 1.1 mi)) and is geographically connected to Guangdong province at the northeast through an isthmus 200 meters (660 ft) wide. The peninsula, together with downtown Zhuhai, sits on an island separated from the continent by distributaries of the Pearl River. The Border Gate (Chinese: 關閘; Portuguese: Portas do Cerco) was built on the northern isthmus. At the south, the peninsula is connected to Taipa Island by three bridges, the Friendship Bridge (Ponte de Amizade); the Macau-Taipa Bridge (Ponte Governador Nobre de Carvalho); and the Sai Van Bridge (Ponte de Sai Van). The longest axis extends 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) from the Border Gate to the southwestern edge, Barra (媽閣嘴). There is a western "Inner Harbor" (內港) paralleled by an "Outer Harbor" (外港) to the east. The 93 meters (305 ft) Guia Hill (松山) is the highest point on the peninsula, which has an average elevation of 50 to 75 meters (164 to 246 ft). Many coastal places are reclaimed from the sea. The Historic Center of Macau, which is entirely on the Macau Peninsula, became a World Heritage Site in 2005.
In 1513, a Portuguese explorer, Jorge Álvares, arrived in the Pearl River Delta, in the Shenzhen area, which he called Tamão. A Portuguese settlement was started here and by 1535 the traders were allowed to anchor their ships in the Macau harbour. In 1887, the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking was signed, allowing "the perpetual occupation and government of Macau by Portugal".
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