Macau is a special administrative region of China in the south of the country, located on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. The culture of Macau was greatly influenced by Portugal, which controlled the territory until 1999. The city is often called Asian Las Vegas because of its gigantic casinos and shopping centers on Cotai Strip, connecting Taipa and Coloan Islands. The 338-meter-high Macau Tower observation deck offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. The population is 650,000.