Guangzhou Tourist Attractions

Guangzhou / CantonGuangzhou / Canton

Guangzhou lies in a fertile plain in the center of the south Chinese province of Guangdong, in the delta of the Zhujiang.

Guangzhou is not only an economic, but also a cultural center. The Sun-Yat-sen University (Zhongshan Daxue) has an importance extending well beyond the immediate area of Guangzhou, while in the city's opera houses the Chinese opera tradition continues to be nurtured.

Temple of Light and Children's Love

The Temple of Light and Children's Love, one of the oldest buildings in the city, is only a short distance from the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. In the 1st C BC Zhao Jiande, the king of the state of Nanyue, lived here. Under the Western Jin dynasty (265-316) the royal residence was turned into a temple. After that the building was chiefly inhabited by Indian monks who came to China in order to disseminate Buddhism. It was here, too, that Huinen, the 6th patriarch of Zen Buddhism, took his vows. In 1151 the building received its present name. Of the original 30 temples and palaces only about ten have survived.
The two iron pagodas on either side of the main temple are worth inspecting closely, as they are thought to be the oldest of their kind in China.
The Eastern Iron Pagoda (Dongtie Ta) dates from 967 and is decorated with over 900 niches with statuettes of Buddha.
The Western Iron Pagoda (Xitie Ta), dating from 963, only retains three ''stories''.

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The temple site, situated in Chaoyang Beilu Street in the old part of the city, was built in AD 537 on the orders of the provincial governor of the time, Xiao Yu, in order to house one of Buddha's bones. It is named after the six banyan trees which formerly stood in the courtyard and to which the poet Su Dongpo dedicated a piece of writing.

Floral Pagoda

The original floral pagoda, dating from 537, burned down in the 10th C and was reconstructed in its present form in 1097 from a drawing of the original building. During the restoration work of 1980 some tiles were discovered with inscriptions which probably date from the Song era. The top of the 57m/187ft high pagoda, which can ascended by a flight of steps, is crowned by a richly decorated bronze column weighing 5 tonnes.

Hall of the Goddess of Mercy

The Hall of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanxin Dian) dates from 1663. Inside it a 4m/13ft high 5 tonne bronze sculpture is housed. It represents Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of love.

Hall of the Sixth Patriarch

In the Hall of the Sixth Patriarch (Liuzu Tang) the visitor is able to admire a bronze statue of the monk Huineng, the founder of the Southern School of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. The statue was cast in the Song period (960-1279).

Mosque in Memory of the Wise Man

The Mosque in Memory of the Wise Man, situated in the city center 300m/330yd south of the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, is one of the oldest mosques in China. It is supposed to have been built by an Arab in 627 in honor of Mohammed. It is also known as the Lighthouse Mosque (Guangta Si) because its high minaret is fitted with lighting equipment and in the past was actually used as a lighthouse. Today this house of prayer is the center of the city's Muslim community.

Tomb of the 72 Martyrs on the Hill of the Yellow Flowers

This tomb commemorates those who lost their lives during the uprising led by Sun-Yat-sen against the Qing government on April 27th 1911. The tomb is situated on the Xianlie Lu, about 3km/2mi east of Yuexiu Gongyuan Park. It was erected in 1918 and is surrounded by a park. On the arch at the southern entrance are to be found Sun-Yat-sen's words ''Eternal Glory''. The park also contains an obelisk, pavilion and pyramid-shaped building, the upper section of which consists of 72 stone slabs representing the 72 martyrs.

Guangzhou Zoo

Northeast of the Tomb of the 72 Martyrs on the Hill of the Yellow Flowers lies the Zoo, one of the largest in China. The pandas are especially popular.

Qingping Market

At the market, consisting of two intersecting, partially covered streets extending along Qingping Lu, there are all kinds of food on sale (fruit, vegetables, fish, snakes, turtles and poultry), animals of every type (dogs, cats, monkeys, etc.), herbs, earthenware and porcelain.

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

The 58m/190ft high Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Yide Lu Street is the largest Christian church in China. The French architect Guillemin built it between 1863 and 1888 in Neo-Gothic style.

Yuexiu Gongyuan Park

Yuexiu Gongyuan Park is situated at the foot of the hill of the same name in the north of the city. It contains several ponds, a hall of flowers, an orchid garden, a sports complex and an open-air cinema.

Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall

The 49m/161ft high Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Zhongshang Jiniantang) is located at the south end of Yuexiu Gongyuan Park and is dedicated to the memory of Sun-Yat-sen, who was the first president of the Chinese Republic, which was founded in 1911. This imposing building was erected in 1931 in the classical Chinese style. The hall, which is used for cultural events, has space for more than 4000 people.
In the gardens in front of the hall can be seen a bronze statue of Sun-Yat-sen while to the west lies a small museum which keeps the politician's memory alive.

Building Overlooking the Sea

On a hill in Yuexiu Gongyuan Park stands the five-story 28m/92ft high palace, the Building Overlooking the Sea (Zhenhai Lou). It was constructed in 1380 and in 1686 was converted into a watch-tower to guard against pirate attacks.

Historical Museum of Guangzhou

Today the Building Overlooking the Sea is the seat of the Historical Museum of Guangzhou. On the individual stories there are exhibits on display from the various epochs of Chinese history, while on the top story there is information available on the Communist movement in Guangzhou.

Memorial Park to the Martyrs of the Canton Uprising

About 4km/2.5mi east of the city center, on Zhongshan Lu, a 26ha/64 acre cemetery was laid out in 1957 for the victims of the Canton uprising which was led by the Communist party in 1927. The 5700 people shot by the Guomindang government are now buried in a tumulus. In addition the memorial park also contains a pavilion (1957) dedicated to Sino-Soviet friendship and one (1964) to Sino-Korean friendship. These are intended as a reminder that Russians and Koreans also lost their lives in the uprising.
In the western section of the park stands the Museum of the Revolutionary History of Guangdong.

Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family

Between 1890 and 1894 the great ancestral temple of the Chen family was built in Zhongshan Lu. It is famous for its wood carvings and sculptures, of which particular mention should be made of the figures on the roof ridges which adopt themes from mythology and classical literature.

Today the temple houses the Folklore Museum, in which arts and crafts from Guangzhou and Guangdong are displayed.

Shamian Island

Shamian Island is 900m/1000yd long and 300m/900ft wide and lies in the southwest of the city, linked with the north bank of the Zhujiang by several bridges. Under Ming rule (1368-1644) the island was used for mooring.
During the Opium Wars it was vigorously defended by the city leaders because of its strategic position, but in 1861 it was conceded to England and France. The foreign powers erected their consulates here, as well as villas, banks, churches and even a tennis court and sailing club. The Chinese needed special permission to be able to set foot on the island.
It is only since 1949 that Shamian has once again been under Chinese administration. Today some of the larger consulates are still located here.

Cultural Park

The 8ha/20 acre Culture Park in the south of the city offers a wide range of entertainment, including exhibition halls, an open-air stage, an opera and concert hall.

College of the Peasants' Movement

The College of the Peasants' Movement is to be found to the west of the Memorial for the Martyrs of the Canton Uprising. It was founded jointly by the Communist Party and the Guomindang in July 1924 in a former Confucian temple.
This college, in which the cadre of the Communist Party are educated, was from 1926 under the direction of Mao Zedong and its teachers included Zhou Enlai. Mao's office, a large hall, library, refectory and students' dormitory can all be visited.


Mountains of the White Clouds

To the northeast of the city rises the mountain range of the White Clouds with more than thirty peaks, the highest of which, The Peak Which Touches the Stars (Moxing Ling), reaches a height of 382m/1253ft. Of the many picturesque places to be found in the mountains, mention should be made of the 2000-year-old Nine Dragons Spring (Jiulong Quan), the tomb of Zhang Erqiao, a famous singer of the Ming period, and the Villa of the Waves in the Sea of Pines (Songtao Bieyuan).

Conghua Thermal Springs

The Conghua Wenquan thermal springs are to be found in the spa resort of the same name, 80km/50mi northeast of Guangzhou. The spa comprises a dozen calcium, magnesium and natrium springs, as well as several thermal baths, extending over an area of some sq.mi. The water temperatures range from 50°-70°C (122°-158°F). The resort also has a large number of sanatoria, hotels and boarding houses.

Birthplace of Sun Yat-sen

The house in which Sun-Yat-sen was born in 1866 is situated in the village of Cuiheng (Zhongshan district), about 100km/62mi south of Guangzhou. It still has the original furniture. In a neighboring building there is a museum commemorating the founder of the first Chinese republic.

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