FUJIAN PROVINCE

FUJIAN PROVINCE

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FUJIAN PROVINCE is a coastal province across the Taiwan Straits from Taiwan. Formerly romanised as Fukien, Foukien or Hokkien, it is the fifth richest province in China based on per capita GDP and is the richest province in these terms outside of Beijing and the Shanghai area. Fujian has been a center of development and trade in China for some time. Marco Polo (1254-1324) wrote about its bustling coastal cities.One of China's first Special Economic Zones (SEZ) — which launched the Deng Xiaoping economic reforms in the 1980s— was set up Xiamen in Fujian Province — in 1979 (the other three were in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong)

Fujian Province is rich in minerals and full farms and fisheries. Taiwanese have invested billions of dollars in the province. The lush mountains of coastal Fujian are famous for oolong tea. In terms of total GDP (CN¥3.58 trillion in 2019), Fujian ranks tenth in China. Its per capita GDP in 2019 was US$15,531 (107,139 yuan) and US$30,637 in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity, a measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power of the countries' currencies)

Fujian is one of China's smaller provinces. It covers 121,400 square kilometers (46,900 square miles), is home to about 39 million people and has a population density of 320 people per square kilometer. About 65 percent of the population lives in rural areas.Fuzhou is the capital and largest city with about 5.5 million people. Xiamen is also a large city, with about four million people. About 98 percent of the people in Fujian are Han Chinese with small numbers of She one percent of the population) and Hui (0.3 percent). Fujian people speak Min, which includes Hokkien dialects, Fuzhounese, followed by Mandarin and Hakka.

Fujian Province is warm and semi-tropical and is situated China’s southeastern coast. It is separated from Taiwan by the narrow Taiwan Straits. It has traditionally been one of China’s major windows to the world and has served as a base for China’s foreign communication. The Chinese is hometown of many overseas Chinese. Throughout the world there are more than ten million overseas Chinese of Fujian origin and many more than that if you go back a few generations.

The name Fujian came from the combination of Fuzhou and Jianzhou (a former name for Jian'ou) two cities in Fujian, during the Tang Dynasty. Even though it is dominated by Han Chinese, it is regarded as one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse provinces in China. Fujian has traditionally been linked with Taiwan and the Chinese government likes to lump them together. As a result of the Chinese Civil War, historical Fujian was divided between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan), and both territories are named the Fujian province in their respective administrative divisions. The majority of the territory of historical Fujian (the mainland territory and a few islands) currently make up the Fujian province of the PRC. The archipelagos of Kinmen, Matsu, and Liuchu are under the control of Taiwan.

Maps of Fujian: chinamaps.org

Geography, Climate and Transportation in Fujian

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Fujian map
Fujian is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. It borders Zhejiang Province to the north, Jiangxi Province to the west, and Guangdong Province to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait. Fujian Province has more than 3,300 kilometers of coastline on the South China Sea to the south, the East China Sea to the east and the Taiwan Strait to the southeast.

Fujian province is mostly mountainous, and is traditionally described as "Eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland" .In the northwest the Wuyi Mountains form the border between Fujian and Jiangxi. It is the most forested provincial region in China, with a 63 percent forest coverage rate in 2009. The highest point of Fujian is 2157-meter (7,076-foot) -high Huanggang Peak in the Wuyi Mountains. The Min River and its tributaries cut through much of northern and central Fujian. Other rivers include the Jin River and the Jiulong River. Due to its uneven topography, Fujian has many cliffs and rapids.

Fujian is separated from Taiwan by the 180-kilometer (110-miles) -wide Taiwan Strait. Some of the small islands in the Taiwan Strait are also part of the province. Small parts of the province, namely the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, are under the administration of the Republic of China. The coastline is rugged and has many bays and islands. Major islands include Haitan Island and Nanri Island. Meizhou Island is regarded as the home of goddess Matsu, the patron deity of Chinese sailors.

Fujian has a subtropical climate similar to that of Hong Kong or Taiwan, with mild winters. In January the coastal regions average around 7–10 °C (45–50 °F) while the hills average 6–8 °C (43–46 °F). In the summer, temperatures are high, and the province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1,400–2,000 millimeters (55–79 inches). The winters are colder the further inland you go.

According to ASIRT: “Roads through mountainous areas are often steep and winding. Good roads link larger cities in the province. Roads to neighboring provinces are in good condition. Rural villages often lack all-weather connections to the main road network. 10,000 kilometers of rural roads have been improved. Travel time on upgraded roads has decreased 58 percent and traffic volume has increased 127 percent. Roadside safety barriers are often lacking. Truck overloading is becoming less common. Expressways running through the Province: Zhangzhou- Zhaoan Expressway and Sanmingshi-Fuzhou Expressway. New expressway completed: Yong’an-Wuping Expressway (YWE); a 2-lane divided highway with lighting and rest stops. Links Yong’an with Wuping. Road is an extension of Changchun–Shenzhen Expressway.” [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), 2011]

South China Sea

The South China Sea lies south of Guangdong and Fujian Provinces and Hong Kong. By some reckonings it is the world's largest sea, covering 3,500,000 square kilometers (1,400,000 square miles). A marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, the South China Sea stretches from the Karimata and Malacca straits to the Strait of Taiwan and carries tremendous strategic importance. Today it carries roughly a third of the world's shipping, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year, and accounts for a tenth of the world's fish catch, which are critical for the food security of millions of people in Southeast Asia.

In the last 2,500 years mariners for Malaysia, China and Indonesia navigated the South China Sea to trade sandalwood, silk, tea and spices. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines all have 200-mile coastal economic zones in the South China Sea. All of these countries also claim the Spratly Islands which are in the middle of the sea Below the South China Sea is an estimated US$3 trillion worth of oil, gas and minerals. Fisheries in the South China Sea have been decimated by overfishing and polluting chemicals from shrimp farms and factories.

The South China Sea is south of China; east of Vietnam; west of the Philippines; east of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, up to the Strait of Singapore in the western, and north of the Bangka Belitung Islands and Borneo. In recent years, China’s claim that the entire sea is it exclusive possession has been a hot international issue and a point of outrage with China. Web Sites: Wikipedia Wikipedia South China Sea Virtual Library South China Sea Virtual Library

History of Fujian

Archaeological discoveries in 2011 revealed that Fujian was inhabited in the Neolithic Age by the middle of the 6th millennium B.C.. An early Neolithic site from this period — with numerous tools made of stones, shells, bones, jades, and wheel-made ceramics and evidence of weaving — is located on Pingtan Island about 70 kilometers southeast of Fuzhou.

Ancient Fujian was the home of the kingdom of Minyue. After the fall of the Qin dynasty in 206 B.C. a civil war broke out between two powerful warlords, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang. The Minyue king Wuzhu sent his troops to fight with Liu and bet paid off. Liu was victorious and founded the Han dynasty. In 202 B.C., he restored Minyue's status as a tributary independent kingdom, allowing Wuzhu to construct his fortified city in Fuzhou as well as a few locations in the Wuyi Mountains, After Wuzhu's death, Minyue maintained its militant tradition and launched several expeditions against its neighboring kingdoms in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang, primarily in the 2nd century B.C. This was stopped by the Han dynasty as it expanded southward.

During the Tang Dynasty (618–906) eras a large influx of migrants settled in Fujian. The area had not been Sinicized until around this time. During the Tang, Fujian was part of the larger Jiangnan East Circuit, whose capital was at Suzhou. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) Fujian or Guangxi was the origin of the ethnic Chinese Tran who migrated to Vietnam along with a large number of other Chinese, during the Vietnamese Ly dynasty, where they served as officials.

After the establishment of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), Fujian became part of Jiangzhe province, whose capital was at Hangzhou. At that time Fujian was a major trading area and like Guangzhou (Canton) was an stop on the Maritime Silk Road. Marco Polo (1254-1324) described the city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province as an "important center of commerce in pearls and other precious stones...so well provided with every amenity that it is a veritable marvel." The Fujian city of Quanzhou was "a great resort of ships and merchandises...that is one of the two ports in the world with the biggest flow of merchandise." [Sources: Mike Edwards, National Geographic, May 2001, June 2001, July 2001]

From 1357-1366 Muslims in Quanzhou rebelled in the Ispah Rebellion, advancing northward and even capturing Putian and Fuzhou before the rebellion was crushed by the Yuan. All the foreigners in Quanzhou city were massacred or deported and not surprisingly the city was shunned afterwards by international traders. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Fujian became a province, with capital at Fuzhou. In the early Ming era, Quanzhou was the staging area and supply depot of Zheng He's naval expeditions to the west. The Ming and Qing (1644–1911) era were a time when Fujian both lost and absorbed refugees, particularly during 20-year of sea trade ban under the Kangxi Emperor (1662–1722), a measure taken to combat the refuge Ming government of the pirate Koxinga in Taiwan.

Fujian briefly gained independence from China again under the Fujian People's Government (1933-34) until it was recontrolled by the Kuomintang. During World War II it came under Japanese sea blockade. After the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, Fujian was kind of ignored. It slow development though in its early days has proved a blessing for it ecology as the province has the highest forest coverage rate and the most diverse biosphere in China.

One of China's first Special Economic Zones (SEZ) — which launched the Deng Xiaoping economic reforms in the 1980s— was set up Xiamen in Fujian Province — in 1979 (the other three were in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong). Development has been accompanied by a large influx of population from the overpopulated areas in the north and west, and much of the farmland and forest, as well as cultural heritage sites such as the temples of king Wuzhu, have given way to ubiquitous high-rise buildings.

Fujian People

Han Chinese make up 98 percent of the population and are composed mainly of various Fujianese, Min-speaking groups such as the Hoklo people, Fuzhounese people, Teochew people and Putian people. Hakka, a Han Chinese people with its own distinct identity, live in the southwestern parts of the province bordering Guangdong. Hui'an. The She are the largest minority ethnic group of the province. They live mainly in villages scattered over mountainous north.

Many of the Chinese in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the United States and elsewhere in the world are decedents of people — mainly Fujianese branches of Hoklo people and Teochew people — that emigrated from Fujian Province. Descendants of Southern Min speaking emigrants make up the majority ethnic Chinese in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. While Eastern Min speaking people, especially Fuzhounese people, emigrated to the United States, especially since the 1990s, when many illegal Fujian immigrants to the U.S. paid tens of thousands of dollars to snakehead to reach their new homes.

Fujian people are regarded as hard working go getters and are famous for their entrepreneurial skills. They speak the Fuzhou dialect and are called Fujian, Fujianese or Fukinese. As of the early 2000s, Only about 10 percent of the province's 35 million have completed high school. Many of the Chinese that made their fortune in Hong Kong, United States and Southeast Asia were from Fujian. Enterprising Fujians are still breaking new ground, in Africa and other places. One Fujian native, Yang Jie, arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi in the mid 1990s. By the mid 2000s he owned and operated the largest ice cream company in Malawi.

The first wave of Fujian emigrants was in the 17th and 18th centuries. So many people left Fujian for Southeast Asia during the 18th century that the Manchu court issued an imperial edict in 1718 recalling all Chinese to the mainland. A 1728 proclamation declared that anyone who didn't return and was captured would be executed. Scholars attribute the mass exodus to a population explosion in the coastal cities of Fujian and prosperity and contacts generated by foreign trade.

Beginning in the late-1700s, large numbers of Chinese — mostly from Guangdong and Fujian provinces and Hainan Island in southern China — began emigrating to Southeast Asia. Most were illiterate, landless peasants oppressed in their homelands and looking for opportunities abroad. The rich landowners and educated Mandarins stayed in China. Scholars attribute the mass exodus to a population explosion in the coastal cities of Fujian and prosperity and contacts generated by foreign trade.

Most of the Chinese who settled in Southeast Asia left China in the mid 19th century after a number of treaty ports were opened in China with the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 after the first Opium War. The ports were convenient departure points. With the British rather than imperial Chinese running things there were fewer obstacles preventing Chinese from leaving. British ports in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, gave them destinations they could head to.

A particularly large number of Chinese left from the British treaty ports of Xiamen (Amoy) and Fuzhou (Foochow) in Fujian province. Many were encouraged to leave by colonial governments so they could provide cheap coolie labor in ports around the world, including those in colonial Southeast Asia. Many Chinese fled the coastal province of Fujian and Zhejiang after famines and floods in 1910 and later during World War II and the early days of Communist rule. Many of the legal and illegal immigrants from China scattered around the globe continue to come from Fujian.

Culture of Fujian Province

Because of mountainous terrain nature and the numerous waves of immigration and emigration, Fujian is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse places in China. Local dialects can become unintelligible within 10 kilometers, a condition reflected in the expression that "if you drive five miles in Fujian the culture changes, and if you drive ten miles, the language does".

Several regions of Fujian have their own form of Chinese opera. Minju (Fujian Opera) is popular around Fuzhou; Gaojiaxi around Jinjiang and Quanzhou; Xiangju around Zhangzhou; Fujian Nanqu throughout the south, and Puxianxi around Putian and Xianyou County. Famous Fuzhou bodiless lacquer ware is renowned for using a body of clay and/or plaster — later removed — to form the shape. Fuzhou is also famous for Shoushan stone carvings.

Traditional design and practices for building Chinese wooden arch bridges in Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2009. According to UNESCO: “The traditional design and practices for building these bridges combine the use of wood, traditional architectural tools, craftsmanship, the core technologies of ‘beam-weaving’ and mortise and tenon joints, and an experienced woodworker’s understanding of different environments and the necessary structural mechanics. The carpentry is directed by a woodworking master and implemented by other woodworkers. The craftsmanship is passed on orally and through personal demonstration, or from one generation to another by masters teaching apprentices or relatives within a clan in accordance with strict procedures. These clans play an irreplaceable role in building, maintaining and protecting the bridges. As carriers of traditional craftsmanship the arch bridges function as both communication tools and venues. They are important gathering places for local residents to exchange information, entertain, worship and deepen relationships and cultural identity. The cultural space created by traditional Chinese arch bridges has provided an environment for encouraging communication, understanding and respect among human beings. The tradition has declined however in recent years due to rapid urbanization, scarcity of timber and lack of available construction space, all of which combine to threaten its transmission and survival.” [Source: UNESCO]

Fujian Cuisine

Fujian cuisine (Taiwanese Cuisine) is dominated by seafood and noted for its large variety of soups. Influenced by cooking-styles from Japan, it is often served at restaurants with large tanks containing live shrimps, lobsters, crabs and fish, with customers often choosing the particular fish or sea creature they want.

Fujian cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is composed of traditions from various regions, including Fuzhou cuisine and Min Nan cuisine. The most famous dish is Fotiaoqiang (literally "Buddha jumps over the wall"), a complex dish making use of many ingredients, including shark fin, sea cucumber, abalone, and Shaoxing wine (a form of "Chinese alcoholic beverage"). Many famous teas originate from Fujian, including oolong, Wuyi Yancha, Lapsang souchong and Fuzhou jasmine tea. The tea processing techniques for three major classes tea — oolong, white tea, and black tea — were all developed in the province. Fujian tea ceremony is an elaborate way of preparing and serving tea. The English word "tea" is borrowed from Min nan language.

Fujian cooking is also known as “Min food” and is the most common type of cuisine found in Taiwan. It is generally light, simple, easy-to-prepare and liberally spiced with ginger and frequently cooked in pork fat. Fujian soups are usually made with seafood, turtle, shark's fin or clams. The seasonings are sweet and mild. One flavoring unique to the region is the so-called “red distillers grain”---glutinous rice fermented for more than a year with red yeast in special container. It has a sharp sweet and sour flavor.

Favorite Fujian dishes include steamed rice with crab; raw fish and shellfish wrapped around pickles; crispy pork in the shape of lychee balls; flash-boiled squid in chicken soup; yeast cakes preserved in jelly; and Buddha Jumps Over a Wall. The latter is a rich soup that gets its name form an old saying: “It was so tasty that a monk learned to jump over a wall to get his share." Nickle-size Fujian wontons are served in a clear soup. “smooth fish” features finely chopped white fish mixed with potato flour and dropped pinch by pinch into the soup. [Source: Taiwan Guide, International Travel Press]

Red Tourism Sights in Fujian

Gutian (60 kilometers northwest of Fuzhou) is site of the Gutian Congress, where Mao Zedong stamped out "ultra-democracy" (voting among Red Army members). The resolution in the conference stipulated the basic principles for building the Party and the army. Gutian is regarded as a Red Tourism Sight.

The Gutian Congress was the 9th meeting of the Communist Party of China and the first after the Nanchang Uprising and subsequent southward flight of the insurrectionist troops. It was convened in December 1929, at the town of Gutian in Shanghang County in southwest Fujian Province. Most of the delegates to this congress were army men (the insurrectionists having been renamed the 4th Army of the Chinese Workers' & Peasants' Red Army). Mao Zedong, voted out six months earlier but moving from his success at the little-known Jiaoyang Congress (also in Shanghang), addressed the Zhu-Mao 4th Army as its Comintern-anointed political commissar and chaired the congress. [Source: Wikipedia +]

The Gutian Congress Resolution, also titled On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party (henceforth Mistaken Ideas) was conceived at the Gutian Congress. One section included in the Little Red Book read: “ In the sphere of theory, destroy the roots of ultra-democracy. First, it should be pointed out that the danger of ultra-democracy lies in the fact that it damages or even completely wrecks the Party organisation and weakens or even completely undermines the Party's fighting capacity, rendering the Party incapable of fulfilling its fighting tasks and thereby causing the defeat of the revolution. Next it should be pointed out that the source of ultra-democracy consists in the petty bourgeoisie's individualistic aversion to discipline. When this characteristic is brought into the Party, it develops into ultra-democratic ideas politically and organisationally. These ideas are utterly incompatible with the fighting tasks of the proletariat."

Sanming (150 kilometers west of Fuzhou) was set up as a sort of utopia before the Cultural Revolution. Composed of people from all over China, it was said to have "no problems, no pollution, perfect integration, a model city." Tingzhou (near Longyan, 100 kilometers northwest of Xiamen) is where leaders of the Communist Party such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai took refuge during the early years of the civil war. It is regarded as a Red Tourism Sight.

Famous Mountains in Fujian Province

Mount Guanzhai (in Liancheng County, about 270 kilometers from Xiamen) covers an area of 123 square kilometers (12,300 hectares) and is renowned for its majestic, attractive scenery featuring water, rocks, caves, springs, temples and gardens. The mountain is named after its shape, which looks like an official's hat of ancient times when seen from afar. It is considered to be the Holy Mountain of Hakka. As a scenic spot on the Danxia landform, Mount Guanzhai is rich in rocks and stones of all shapes and sizes, such as cars and monkeys. Boating can be enjoyed on nearby calm Shimen Lake. Admission: 60 yuan (US$9.44) per person. [Source: Xu Lin, China.org, August 22, 2012]

Mount Taimu (northeastern Fujian Province, 45 kilometers south of Fuding City) is surrounded by the sea on three sides. The mountain features steep peaks, caves, brooks, waterfalls and ancient temples. It consists of five sections: Taimu Shanyue, Jiuli Stream and Waterfall, Qingchuan Seaside Area, Sangyuan Green Lake and the Fuyao Islands. Aside from those, there are two other scenic spots on the mountain: Lengcheng Ancient Castle and Ruiyun Temple. The marvelous view of the mountain from afar has earned itself the beautiful name "immortal mountain on the sea."; Admission: 115 yuan (US$18.09) per person.

Binhai Volcano National Geological Park (in Binhai, Qianting town, on the Taiwan Strait) is the home of China's only coastal volcanic geological and geomorphic scenic area. It is also one of the first 11 national geoparks in the country. Covering an area of 100 square kilometers (10,000 hectares), the park is an important part of the Pacific Cenozoic lava. The basalts erupted from the volcano 2.6 to 7 million years ago and formed the typical volcanic physiognomy view. There are two volcanic islands in the park: Linjin Islet and Nanding Island. Its columnar basalts, ancient craters, beaded fumaroles and watermelon rind structures of basalt, make the park a natural volcanic geological museum. The three beaches in the park, famous for their fine sand, are also worth visiting; Admission: 80 yuan (US$12.58) per person. [Source: China.org]

Taining Global Geopark (in Taining County, northwestern part of Fujian Province) covers an area of 492.5 square kilometers and comprises four major scenic areas, Shiwang, Big Golden Lake, Baxian Cliff and Jinrao Mountain, plus a tour to ancient Taining City. The park has a number of geological formations and is characterized by the Danxia landform, boasting rough granite, volcanic, and tectonic landscapes. Its unique scenery also attracts a large number of foreign visitors. Some man-made features have made the geopark appear even more impressive, for example that of Shangshudi, the most well-preserved Ming Dynasty folk house in southern China. Taining Global Geopark was listed as a World Geopark by UNESCO in 2005. Admission: s: Geological Museum: 12 yuan (US$1.89) per person; Zhaixia Grand Canyon: 45 yuan (US$7.08) per person; Golden Lake: 65 yuan (US$10.22) per person; Zhuangyuan Cliff: 34 yuan (US$5.35) per person.

Dongshan Wind Rock (in Tongling Town of Dongshan County) is a national grade-4A tourist attraction and provincial-level scenic spots. Regarded as “No.1 rock in the world”, the round rock stands towards the sea with 4.37 meters in height, 4.57 meters in width, 4.69 meters in length and about 200 tons in weight. Contacted area of the peach-shaped rock and the flat ground is no more than one meter. Because of its unique features, the rocked was recorded in the China’s Best Geography.

Fuzhou

Fuzhou (about 15 kilometers inland and 600 kilometers south of Shanghai) is the capital and largest city in Fujian Province with about 5.5 million people. Fuzhou dates back to 202 B.C., in the Han Dynasty when it was the center of the Minyue kingdom and was founded the Minyue king Wuzhu sent his troops to support the founder the Han dynasty and was rewarded with a tributary independent kingdom, allowing Wuzhu to construct a fortified city in Fuzhou. Marco Polo visited Fuzhou in the late 13th century and described it as an "important center of commerce in pearls and other precious stones...so well provided with every amenity that it is a veritable marvel." Fuzhou was one of the first ports opened to trade in 1842 by the Treaty of Nanking.

Fuzhou (also spelled Foochow) is a seaport on the Minjiang River midway between Hong Kong and Shanghai. The city has traditionally been known for its handicraft industries which produce horn combs, umbrellas, and lacquers. It is famous also for black (Bohea) tea, named for the Chinese hills where it is grown.

Fuzhou Metro opened in 2016 with two lines: Line 1: operated by Fuzhou Metro Group; and Line 2 operated by Fuzhou CETC Rail Trainsit Company with a total of 55.5 kilometers of track and 43 stations
Line 1 runs from Xiangfeng (Jin'an) to Fuzhou South Railway Station (Cangshan). Opened in 2016 and expanded in 2017, it has 24.89 kilometers of track and 21 stations. Line 2 runs from Suyang (Minhou) to Yangli (Jin'an). Opened in 2019, it has 30.629 kilometers of track and 22 stations. Fuzhou Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

Fast Trains connect Fuzhou many cities in China. Beijing-Fuzhou trains operate seven times a day and cover the 1,808-kilometer (1,123 mile) distance between the two cities in 8 - 11 hours. Ticket price for a second class seat are CNY 719/ 795.5. The twice-dai;y normal trains cover the distance in 20 to 35 hours. Hong Kong- Fuzhou High Speed Train operate once a day and cover the distance in 5.5 hours for CNY 339.5 for a second class seat. Thre are more frequent fast trains from Shenzhen. [Source: Travel China Guide travelchinaguide.com

Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide ; Maps of Fuzhou: chinamaps.org ; Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Fuzhou is accessible by air, train and bus and a few boats. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Sights in and Around Fuzhou

The early city walls remain. In the nearby hills are many beautiful examples of architecture, including the striking White and Black Pagodas. Gu Mountain (east of Fuzhou) is full of caves which contain inscriptions. Built on top of the hill in A.D. 908. Yongquan Temple is the home of 24 great halls and 27,900 volumes of Buddhist scriptures. Fujian Provincial Museum has two addresses: West Lake Park, 71 Hubin Road, Fuzhou and Yushan Mountain Dashi Hall.

Restaurants: 1) Fujian Quanjiafu Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant (Liuyu North Rd., Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87560168); 2) Fuzhou Delicacy Restaurant (1st floor Shengyu Building, 1 Hujie Rd., Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87558536); 3) Letaoyuan Cuisine&Pottery City (1st floor Huada Hotel, 2 Tongpan Rd., Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87831178); 4) Yonghe Fish ball Snack (Front of Fengming Apartment, Xiannan St., East Rd., Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87502905);

Shopping: 1) Fuzhou Fuya Handicraft Co., LTD (267 Fudong Rd., Gulou District, Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87504342); 2) Fuzhou Hengji Carpet Co., LTD (Ganghu West Rd., Fuzhou, Tel: +86-591-87734212).

SanFangQiXiang (Three Lanes and Seven Alleys)

SanFangQiXiang (Three Lanes and Seven Alleys) is a street district featuring a cluster of old residential buildings in the downtown area of Fuzhou. It is largest well-preserved historical heritage site in China, covering an area of 40 hectares. With the Southern Street acting as the central axis, the original three lanes were in the west and the seven alleys are in the east. The layout dates back to the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. The street is unique as it is the only existing street district in China bearing this pattern. Running from north to south, the lanes are named Wenru Lane, Yijin Lane, and Guanglu Lane. The alleys are named Huang Alley, Gong Alley, Yangqiao Alley, Langguan Alley, Ta Alley, Anmin Alley, and Jipi Alley.

The lanes and alleys contained hundreds of houses constructed by wealthy people of the Ming and Qing dynasties. A total of 159 buildings, most of them well-preserved, remain today. The houses were built using huge old bricks and they carry seashell decorations-which were easy to get because of Fuzhou's coastal location. The ornaments, wood carvings and stone carvings all testify to the past glory of the area and its buildings . The area has been home to many famous people, including politicians, military leaders, writers and poets. Some of their descendants still reside there today, keeping up the living fashions of their ancestors. Jiqi Alley, Yangqiao Alley and Guanglu Lane have now been converted into driveways. Only two lanes and five alleys remain; Admission: Free.

SanFangQiXiang was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The SanFangQiXiang of Fuzhou is an urban residential area existing for more than one thousand years. Its street pattern is a continuation and development of the traditional Lanes System (an urban planning system evolved from Lifang System), while the well-preserved spatial structure represents an outstanding example of the urban fabric and cityscape of a residential area in ancient China. Evolved from the Lifang System, this urban area is also a place where the literati and officialdom chose to live in the past dynasties. It vividly illustrates the living conditions of this class, and clearly expresses their common idea and value on the state and family, their individual pursuit of moral integrity and self-cultivation, and their intense and profound impact on other classes of the society. The associative relationships between individual houses, the lanes and alleys, the whole area of the nominated property, and the entire city are articulated with clear spatial layers and a well-organized structure, which reflects the rigorous and unified social order that existed in the past feudal dynasties as a unique manifestation of the ethical philosophy and political theory of "cultivating one's morality, regulating the family, managing the country and harmonizing the world" which was proposed by the Confucians in ancient China. [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO]

“Because of the unique geographic location and its history and culture, the site had gradually become a living quarter where the ancient Chinese literati and officialdom class had gathered. The whole area and the various houses and gardens within it exhibit the living conditions of the class as they were when it stepped down the stage of history at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Every place, from the individual living places to the houses and gardens once belonging to those clans, from the lanes and alleys of the whole area and their surroundings, exhibit the common high spiritual and cultural pursuits of the class, and at the same time clearly represent a strict layered spatial order and unity of the place. All these features have a profound influence on other classes of the society living in the area, thus formed the distinct style and the outstanding quality of the area, making it an ideal living place for all the people in the past dynasties. Therefore, as a historical urban residential area, the SanFangQiXiang is an outstanding testimony of how the class of literati and officialdom who deeply rooted with Confucianism, had practiced the Chinese feudal ethical philosophy and political theory of "cultivating one's morality, regulating the family, managing the country and harmonizing the world" for over a thousand years.

“SanFangQiXiang has preserved the street patterns that have lasted for more than a thousand years, while the relics both on the ground and subterranean reflect the evolution of the urban structure of Fuzhou city from the Lifang System to the Lanes System since the Tang and the Song Dynasties. The close connection of this area with the overall layout of the city, the strictly planned street pattern with evenly distributed blocks, the unified form of the houses but with diverse courtyards and private gardens, the carefully selected materials and well-constructed buildings, and traditional community management system with its text engraved on steles which are placed in the lanes, altogether represent an outstanding example of the urban fabric in the residential area, the features of the cityscape, and the organization and management model of residential area of ancient Chinese cities.

History and Layout of SanFangQiXiang

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: SanFangQiXiang “is situated between the Zicheng (a smaller range of city walls) built in the Jin Dynasty (3rd-4th century A.D.) and the Luocheng (a larger range of city walls) built in the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th century A.D.). It is faced with the southern border of the Zicheng to its north, the central axis of Fuzhou to the east, the Antai River and the relic walls built in the Tang and the following Five Dynasties (10th century A.D.) to the west, and the Wushan hill and Yushan hill to its south. In this beautiful city of Fuzhou with a river and the hills, this site has been where the literati and officialdom resided ever since the Tang Dynasty [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO].

“SanFangQiXiang as a relatively independent area in the city has maintained its traditional urban fabric of lanes and alleys shaped in the Jin and the Tang Dynasties. With Nanhou Street as the main north-south axis of this area, the Three Lanes of Yijin Lane, Wenru Lane and Guanglu Lane are situated in the west, while the Seven Alleys of Yangqiao Alley (Ro), Langguan Alley, Ta Alley, Huang Alley, Anmin Alley, Gong Alley and Jipi Alley (Ro) are in the east, which constitute the structure of the main streets in the shape of a fishbone. The names of these lanes and alleys have been rarely changed since the Jin and the Tang Dynasties. The archaeological sites in this area have revealed the stratigraphically corresponding relationships between the current street pattern and the respective street structures in the Tang and subsequent dynasties (7th-20th century A.D.), which are evidences for the thousand years' history of this area and evolution process of the Lifang System (an urban planning system for residential area), making the SanFangQiXiang the most integrated ancient urban residential area existing in China.

Due to the unique geographic location and its special setting, the SanFangQiXiang of Fuzhou City has always been the residential area for the literati, officialdom and the wealthy gentry since the Jin and Tang Dynasties. Celebrities include famous scholars, politicians, military strategists, ideologists, and artists. There are more than 200 historical buildings of the Ming (14th-17th century A.D.) and the Qing Dynasties (17th-20th century A.D.) well preserved in this area. Most of them are traditional houses with courtyards or private gardens, while the others include community facilities for education, religion, commerce and patriarchal clan management. All these buildings compose a layered spatial structure from urban area to lanes and alleys, and to individual houses and courtyards in a strict order, which emanates an atmosphere of harmony and calm. Inside the houses, the exquisite details of architecture and gardening are hidden behind a simple appearance, which displays diverse tastes, interests, and the rich cultural deposition of those clans in a unified order and a harmonious atmosphere. The historical relics of SanFangQiXiang in various periods jointly constitute a unique residential urban fabric and the cityscape of a traditional Chinese city, which exhibits the authentic life style of the traditional Chinese literati and officialdom class and their profound culture.

Quanzhou

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Marco Polo
Quanzhou (150 kilometers southwest of Fuzhou) is the closest mainland city to Taiwan. Located just across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan, it was once was a great city called Zaiton that was the beginning of the "Silk Road of the Sea." Marco Polo (1254-1324) described the city as filled with "all the ships from Indie" and having Hindu temples, Christian churches and mosques. He called it "a great resort of ships and merchandises...that is one of the two ports in the world with the biggest flow of merchandise." The Polos left China from Zaiton (Quangzhou) in 1281 with the Mongol princess and a fleet of 14 ocean-going ships that contained 600 people, plus sailors (Marco Polo's estimate), and two years of supplies.

The great Muslim explorer Ibn Battuta arrived here in 1344. From 1357-1366 Muslims in Quanzhou rebelled in the Ispah Rebellion, advancing northward and even capturing Putian and Fuzhou before the rebellion was crushed by the Yuan. All the foreigners in Quanzhou city were massacred or deported and not surprisingly the city was shunned afterwards by international traders. Today, many Muslims live in their old quarter of Tumen Street around the Qingjing Mosque, which has been there for more than 1,000 years. Modern Quanzhou is home to 1.6 million people and its metro area has over 6.1 million.

Web Sites: Travel China Guide Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Quanzhou is accessible by long distance bus and high speed train. Quanzhou is served by the high-speed Fuzhou–Xiamen Railway, part of the Hangzhou–Fuzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton)

The Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in.2016. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The site “is a serial nomination of the representative monuments and sites of Quanzhou (Zayton)-an important port city in China in the prosperous period of the Maritime Silk Roads. A total of 16 monuments and sites are nominated, categorised into “historical sites and relics of navigation and trade”, “historical sites and relics of multiculture” and “historical sites and relics of urban construction and land transport”, representing the prosperity of Quanzhou in the Song (960-1279 A.D.) and Yuan (1271-1368 A.D.) dynasties as an important hub of the Maritime Silk Roads from multiple perspectives. [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO]

“Quanzhou (Zayton) was an important hub of the navigation and trade routes through Indian Ocean and western Pacific from the 10th to the 14th century. It was the largest port city of maritime trade in the east in the golden age of the Maritime Silk Roads in the Yuan Dynasty (the 13th century to the 14th century). With magnificent cultural background, extensive spatial dimension of interchange, and a comprehensive system of communication facilities, “MHistoric Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton)” exhibits the cultural exchange of the peoples from the countries along the coast of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific in their prosperous period of commercial trade before the Age of Discovery in the 15th century. The nominated monuments and sites exhibit Quanzhou (Zayton)’s contribution to the exchange system of the Maritime Silk Roads and interchange of the Chinese people and foreigners in China on religious beliefs from the 10th century to the 14th century and their representation in the urban culture, architectural design and sculpture art.

“Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton)” testify to the development of the ocean civilization and the unique ocean culture in China’s southeast coastal area in the prosperous period of the Maritime Silk Roads from the 10th century to the 14th century as well as the tradition of exchange, fusion and harmonious co-existence of the different religious cultures in Quanzhou brought along by navigation activities.

“Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton)” is directly associated with the significant events of Zheng He’s voyages to the west and tangibly associated with the spread of Islam, Manichaeism, Hinduism and Nestorianism in the southeast coastal area of China. The monuments and sites are directly associated with the following literary works: Travels of Marco Polo, Travels of Friar Odoric, Ibn Battuta’s Rihla, Records of Foreign Countries, and A Synoptical Account of the Islands and Their Barbarians. These events, communications and works had great influences on the Chinese history as well as the world history.”

Sights in Quanzhou

Kaiyuan Monastery (on Xi Street) is one of the most beautiful temples found along the Chinese coast. Covering over 30,000 square meters, the main hall contains 100 stone pillars, each one carved with a different beautiful design. Carved on the beams are 24 flying dancers and angel-like singers. In front of the main hall are two 750 year old stone towers, the oldest in China. Qingjing Mosque (on Tumen Street) is modeled after the Great Mosque in Syria. It is over 1000 years old.

Chongwu Ancient Town a historical site reputed to be "one of the largest ports in the world" by Marco Polo. Built in 1384 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to fight against the Japanese pirates, the town is the best-preserved T-shaped stone-walled city in China. Some of the building are made with heavy local granite, is a prominent feature of the town. A large sculpture park is located on the narrow strip south of the fortress, between the city wall and the beach. The stone carving artworks are worth a look.

According to the Chinese government website: “The town is also famous for its uniquely dressed up Hui'an maidens, who wear short cyan jackets and skintight black hip huggers which flare out the legs, but they carefully cover their heads with colorful scarves and conical hats. Hui'an maidens are well known for their work ethic and kindness Admission: 25 yuan (US$3.93) per person;

Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton) includes, the report to UNESCO says, “a multitude of property types, which demonstrate the prosperity of Quanzhou between the 10th and 14th century, the thriving period of the Maritime Silk Roads. In terms of navigation and trade, the property has included major infrastructure sites for an ocean trade port, such as docks, pagodas for navigation, management authorities, temples for god and goddess of the sea and commodity production sites, all of which are in relatively good integrity. The 16 monuments and sites, with related geographical features and abundant archaeology relics, represent all the values of the serial property.

Near Quangzhou

Qingyuan Mountain (2.5 kilometers north of Quanzhou) is a national park that has been a resort for over 1000 years. Found here are forests, steams, unusual rock formations and caves. A giant 15-foot-high and 20-foot-wide stone statue of an old man located here is believed to be the biggest Taoist stone sculpture in the world. Nationally-recognized Qingyuan Mountain scenic spot is comprised of such three parts: Qingyuan Mountain, Sacred Mountain & Holy Tombs, and Nine Suns Mountain. Together they occupy of 62 square kilometers. The area is famous for its springs, rocks, caves and peaks. There are statues of Buddhism and Taoist from Song Wuyi Mountain. Dahongpao tea grows at places there above 600 meters above sea level. The soil is acidic and suitable for growing of tea. The tea bushes here have dense branches filled with shining green leaves and new sprouts are purplish red.

South Putuo Temple (at the foot of Five Old Men's Peak) was built in the 8th century and covers over 30,000 square meters. It boasts magnificent main halls and minor buildings, 28 jade Buddhas and tens of thousands of Buddhist scriptures written in both Chinese and foreign languages.

Meizhou Island (halfway between Quangzhou and Fuzhou) is a small island close to the shore of Putian and regarded as the home of goddess Matsu, the patron deity of fishermen and sailors in southern China and East Asians. Meizhou is regarded as the birthplace of Matsu, or Mazu, and the place she died. During the Ming Dynasty many temples dedicated to her were built across China. These temples have also been built in other countries with large numbers of Southern Chinese inhabitants. Matsu is said to have been a small girl plucked from the ocean by fisherman during a tempest in A.D. 975. After she died at the age of 27 she was worshipped as the Sea Goddess, and became an important deity for Chinese living along the coast. The temple that honors her sits on hill and offers fine views of the sea.

Pilgrimages and beach vacation are two reasons people come to Meizhou Island. Jiubaolan beach is located in the southwest of the island. Its soft sand and clean sea have earned the beach the nickname "China's Hawaii." Erwei Stone Park, a cluster of amazing stone landscapes, is also worth seeing; Admission: 65 yuan (US$10.22) per person. Guanghua Temple on mainland Putian is also worth checking out.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), China.org, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2020

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