Fuzhou Tourist Attractions
Fuzhou has a past stretching back more than 2000 years. In 202 BC it was the capital of the Yue kingdom and in the 10th C of the Min kingdom. It was given its present name in 725. Fuzhou is known as ''Banyan Town'' because of the subtropical banyan trees planted during the Song period (960-1279). Since that time overseas trade has developed more and more, as a result of which many foreigners have settled in the region, especially on the island of Nantai. In 1842, following the Opium Wars, Fuzhou became one of the five ports which were declared open to foreign trade.In 1949 industrialization commenced when Fuzhou was linked to the major rail routes and the Minjiang river was extended to accommodate shipping; the main branches are engineering and light industry.
In the town center, 1.5km/1mi west of Yushan Hill, stands Black Hill (Wushan), which has been a popular spot for outings for hundreds of years. More than 200 inscriptions are engraved on its rock faces, the best-known being that made in 772 by Li Yangbing, a notable Tang calligrapher. Of historical importance are inscriptions made by some eunuchs from the Ming period (1368-1644) giving detailed descriptions of their many duties, especially of their work in the shipyards.On the eastern foothills stands the 35m/115ft high granite-built Black Pagoda (Wuta), dating from the year 941 and so named as a counterpart to the White Pagoda. It stands on the site of a stupa from the Tang period (618-907). In the course of extensive restoration work in 1957 measures were taken to halt the subsidence which had occurred on one side. Near the Black Pagoda can be seen a stele from the Tang era.
Yushan Hill with its fine views dominates the town center; it is known particularly for the hundred or more inscriptions, dating from the 10th to 19th C, which decorate its rock faces.
The town's symbol, the 41m/135ft high, seven-story White Pagoda (Baita) at the western foot of the hill, was built in 904 as a wooden-clad brick building; however, it burned down in 1534 after being struck by lightning. It was rebuilt in brick in 1548.Behind it stands a temple (Baita Si) built in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) on the foundations of a Buddhist temple dating from 905. Today it houses a library.The temple to the east was built in 1918 in honor of General Qi Jiguang (1528-87), who had fought against Japanese pirates in 1562.
Hall of the Great Master
On the top of Yushan Hill can be seen the Hall of the Great Master (Dashi Dian), or Guanyin Hall (Guanyin Ge), built in 1713. In 1911 it was used as the headquarters of the revolutionary army. An inscription by the Emperor Qianlong (1736-96) on a stone tablet relates how Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara changed into a woman, the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin), who is so revered by Chinese Buddhists.
Hualin Si Temple
On the southern slopes of Mount Pingshan in the north of Fuzhou stands the Hualin Si Temple, from the Tang period (618-907). The main building, the Sumptuous Hall of the Great Hero (Daixong Baodian) built in the Tong era (960-1279), is all that remains of the early edifice, the other buildings having been added during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
West Lake (Xihu), situated in Xihu Park in the northwest of the town, was named after the better-known lake of the same name in Hangzhou, and is a favorite leisure spot. Banyan trees and meadows are a feature of the land along the banks. The lake was dug out in AD 282 as part of an irrigation project. The Provincial Museum is in Xihu Park.
Tomb of Lin Zexu
The Tomb of Lin Zexu lies in a northern suburb of Fuzhou. In 1839 the supreme commander Lin Zexu (1785-1850) confiscated and burned 20,000 cases of opium which the British had smuggled into China from India, and this led to the outbreak of the Opium Wars.