Guangzhou Tourist Attractions
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.
Cantonese cooking, in which seafood plays a crucial part, is also famous.
An important Cantonese legend tells the story of how five gods came down to earth on goats and gave the inhabitants five ears of corn in order to protect them from famine.
The city of Guangzhou, which was originally called Fanyu, has a history dating back over 2000 years. In 214 BC Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi nominated it capital of the administrative area of Nanhai (Southern Sea) in recognition of its growing importance as a river and sea port. In AD 226 it was renamed Guangzhou. From the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907) onwards Guangzhou developed into a center of foreign trade and as a result a large Islamic community grew up here. Under the Song dynasty (960-1279) the city enjoyed a golden period. In 1517 the Portuguese landed here, followed by the Spanish, Dutch, British and French. Over the years the harbor became larger and larger and in 1684 the East India Company moved its headquarters here in order to be able to have better control of its trade in the opium which it was bringing over from India. In 1839 the Imperial High Commissioner Lin Zexu had 1185 tons of opium destroyed in Humen, a small village near Guangzhou, and in so doing triggered off the opium wars between Britain and China. In 1841 the city offered stubborn resistance to the attacking English troops, with the peasants of Sanyuanli (today a suburb of Guangzhou) particularly distinguishing themselves. In the Treaty of Nanking (1842) the city was forced to open its doors to foreign trade and in 1858 the island of Shamian became a foreign concessionary area. This contact with foreigners was destined to imbue the Cantonese from very early on with nationalistic sentiments, a readiness for reform and revolutionary ideas. At the beginning of the 20th C Sun Yat-sen started numerous uprisings against the Qing government.
In 1918 the city began to be modernized, with wide streets being laid out, countless shacks torn down, canals filled in and the city walls taken down.
The year 1924 saw the founding of the Whampoa military academy where Zhou Enlai studied. In the period following, Zhou, Guo Moruo and Mao Zedong taught at the local institute of the peasants' movement. After the rupture in relations between the Communists and the Guomindang, more than 5000 of the former lost their lives at the hands of Guomindang troops during a workers' revolt in 1927. In 1949 Guangzhou fell to the Communist regime.
In the 1950s Guangzhou became an important center for industry (steel, chemicals, textiles and foodstuffs) and foreign trade, a development which was helped by its proximity to Hong Kong. Since 1957 the famous Canton Fair has taken place twice a year.
Temple of Light and Children's Love
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
Hall of the Goddess of Mercy
Hall of the Sixth Patriarch
Mosque in Memory of the Wise Man
Tomb of the 72 Martyrs on the Hill of the Yellow Flowers
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Yuexiu Gongyuan Park
Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Building Overlooking the Sea
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
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.