SIGHTS IN GUANGZHOU
Guangzhou Sights include the Guangzhou Zoo, South China Botanical Garden, Daxin Ivory Arts and Crafts Factory, Qingping Market, Foshan Ancestral Temple, Shiwan Artistic Ceramics Factory, Folshan Folk Arts and Crafts Society and Dali Town. Liuhua Park and Yue Xiu Park are among the nicer parks. There are good views of the city from the TV tower in Yue Xie Park and Alqun Hotel on Shamian Island. Hauisheng Mosque contains a towering minaret.
Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street (Liwan District) is a mixed showcase of architecture, cuisine and folk customs.Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in Liwan District, Guangzhou, is one of the busiest commercial pedestrian streets in China. Located in the old town of Xiguan, the 1,218-meter-long street is lined with more than 300 shops. Its architecture features the characteristics of south European and Cantonese style, being both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Many tourists are attracted here for its restaurants and food stores, for the street is a good combination of traditional and modern food as well as Chinese and foreign food. Getting There: Take bus No. 38, 31, 103, 823 or 102 and get off at Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street Station
Baiyun Mountain (White Cloud Mountain South Road) is one of the most fabulous scenic spots in Guangzhou, with gorgeous natural scenery and abundant historical relics. Named "White Cloud" Mountain, for the white clouds which gather around its base, Baiyun Mountain has been immortalized by many renowned poets and scholars of past dynasties in their poetry or other forms of writings. The total area of Baiyun Mountain consists of 30 peaks. One can stand on the summit and view the whole city of Guangzhou as well as the beautiful Pearl River. So far six sightseeing zones have been developed and each has its own unique features. Baiyun Mountain is a perfect place to escape the city. Admission: 5 yuan, Tel:86-20-37222222; Getting There: Take bus No. 24, 199, 223, 36, 285 or 540 and get off at Yuntai Garden Station.
Yuexiu Park (Jiefang North Road, Yuexiu District) is the largest park in downtown Guangzhou and one of the most famous scenic spots in the city, perfectly combining cultural relics and ecological landscape. The park is named for the hills of Yuexiu Mountain on which it is built. Top sights include the stone statue of the Five Rams, the emblem of Guangzhou City, as well as the Ming-era (1368-1644) Zhenhai Tower and the site of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) City Wall. Admission: Free, Tel:86-20-86661950 Hours Open: 6:00am-9:00pm; Getting There: Take bus No. 109, 110, 111, 201, 234, 269, 271, 278, 301, 543 or 550 and get off at Yuexiu Park Station;
South Jade Crafts Factory is a busy place where mostly soapstone and agate are carved up into jewelry and various objects. Describing it, Timothy Green wrote in Smithsonian, the floor was humming "with activity as nearly 200 workers bent over drills and polishing machines, sustained in the oppressive heat by endless cans of Coca-Cola. One floor specialized in jewelry, another in highly embellished carvings of exotic boats, ornamental swords and pastoral scenes. Many of the carvings, I soon discovered, were in soapstone and serpentine. But a few workers were carving jadeite."
Guangzhou Crocodile Park (Metro Line 3, Hangxi-Chinglong Station, Exit C, at the Chimelong Bus Station there is a free shuttle bus to the park) is said to be the world's largest crocodile farm with over 100,000 animals. Thai crocodile wrestlers perform stunts like reaching down the throat of crocodiles and sticking their heads in the animal's mouth. In 1997 and 1998, taking advantage of low prices caused by the Asian financial crisis, the park bought 40,000 crocodiles for as little as 75 cents a piece. The crocodiles, ranging in size from a few centimeters to six feet, filled the holds of five 747 cargo jets. The park loses money because it can't get the crocodiles to breed. To make money it has opened its doors to tourists who pay a bamboo pole with two chicken torsos attached to them to feed to the crocodiles. The park also has a sea lion arena, snake areal leaping frogs and chameleons.
Pearl River and Shamian Island
Night Tour of the Pearl River is an enjoyable way to enjoy Guangzhou’s dazzle. When evening light shows, a blaze of neon lights will reflect on the river, presenting a fascinating night view. A cruise ride on the river will rival one on the Victoria Harbor of Hong Kong.The Pearl River is the third longest river in China with a length of more than 2,000 kilometers. The river is composed of four separate river systems, which join up in Guangzhou, flow for about 70 kilometers, and then pour into the South China Sea. The 'Scenic Corridor' alongside the river, about 23 kilometers (14 miles) long, is also a perfect place for those who want to go for a walk and enjoy the gentle breeze in the evening.
Shamian Island (Liwan District, situated within the Pearl River) is a sandbank island dotted with various historical buildings. From the Song and the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), the island served as an important port for foreign trade. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, most of the public facilities, including consulates, churches and schools, banks and offices, were finished. Now, the community has been restored to its former splendor. Shamian is a good place to experience European-style architecture. It is just 900 meters long from east to west and 300 meters from south to north. 42 out of the 150 buildings exhibit gothic, baroque, and neoclassical styles. The Alqun Hotel on Shamian Island. Getting There: Take bus No. 9, 38, 105, 208, 219, 236, 270 or 556 and get off at Huangsha Wharf Station.
Shamian Island is almost a kilometer long island. After the Opium War, Britons built mansions and a fort on this island which at the time wasn't much more than a sand bar. No Chinese were allowed. Today, the mansions are used by the government. There are several nice places to stroll around or ride a bicycle. Banyan trees line the banks of the river and gardens and palm trees surround the mansions.
Skyscrapers and Super High Towers in Guangzhou
Guangzhou is home four of the world’s tallest 75 buildings. 1) Guangzhou CTF Finance Center is the 8th tallest building in the world. Completed in 2016, it is 530 meters (1,739 feet) tall and has 111 floors and some the world’s fastest elevators. 2) Guangzhou International Finance Center GZIFC is the 26th tallest building in the world (as of 2020). Completed in 2010, it is 440 meters (1,440 feet) tall and has 103 floors. 3) CITIC Plaza Guangzhou is the 43rd tallest building in the world (as of 2020). Completed in 1996, it is 390.2 meters (1,280 feet) tall and has 80 floors. 4) The Pinnacle is the 74th tallest building in the world (as of 2020). Completed in 2012, it is 350.3 meters (1,149 feet) tall and has 60 floors.
Canton Tower (Metro Line 3, Canton Tower Station) was briefly the tallest tower in the world and is now the second tallest tower Tokyo’s Sky Tree is taller) and the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. Built for the 2010 Asian Games, it is 604 meters (1,982 feet) tall and has an observation area at 450 meters, with a spectacular view, whose spectacular-ness is often dependant on that day’s air pollution.
Guangzhou Circle (on the Pearl River, Metro Line 1, Xilang Station) is a bizarre 33-story-high building completed in 2013 that looks like a giant donut or coin with a hole in it. According to designingbuildings.co.uk: “The iconic building was designed by the Italian architect Joseph Di Pasquale as headquarters for Hongda Xingye Group and Guangdong Plastic Exchange. It was intended to serve as a contrast with the stereotypical skyscrapers of the west. Reaching 138 meters, the building has a total floor area of 85,000 square meters. It is formed by two rows of blocks that are progressively pushed out to an extreme cantilever of 25 m. This creates a 50 meter diameter circular hole in the centre of the building which has almost no architectural comparison anywhere in the world.
“The building’s front and rear walls are clad with copper plates, while the curved side walls are formed by a series of glazed rectilinear boxes. The design concept was inspired by jade discs and the numerological tradition of fengh shui in China. When reflected in the surface of the river, it represents the double disc of jade synonymous with the ancient Chinese dynasty of the area, as well as the number ‘8’, which has a strong resonance in Chinese culture.”
Guangzhou CTF Finance Center
Guangzhou CTF Finance Center(Metro Lines 3 and 5, Zhujiang New Town Station) is the 8th tallest building in the world..Completed in 2016, it is 530 meters (1,739 feet) tall and has 111 floors and some the world’s fastest elevators. According to Skyscraper Center: “Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is a mixed-use tower located across from Guangzhou International Finance Center and Canton Tower. The project is adjacent to a large central park and a subterranean retail concourse with transportation interchanges, integrating the project into the city and the wider region.
“The design of Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is derived from the efficient synthesis of its multiple uses. Its form is sculpted at four major transition points: office to residential, residential to hotel, hotel to crown, and crown to sky. Instead of tapering to accommodate the smaller floor plates required for different programs, the tower steps back at four angled parapets. These four setbacks allow for lush sky terraces and dramatic skylights.
“Careful attention was paid to the material selection for the tower. Thus, a series of subtle terra cotta mullions line the tower’s elevations. This material played a very important role in both Eastern and Western history, and is also beneficial from an environmental standpoint. The embodied energy of terra cotta is far less than aluminum, glass, or steel. It is self-cleaning and corrosion-resistant. Moreover, it can be produced in many locations in China, reducing the environmental impact of shipping. These terra cotta mullions were designed to project out from the glass on an angle to provide shading on the exterior.
“The building employs a number of energy efficient tools to reduce its environmental footprint. In addition to its strong multi-level connections to public transportation, the use of high-efficiency chillers and heat recovery from the water-cooled chiller condensers all contribute to the building’s sustainability.”
Guangzhou International Finance Center GZIFC
Guangzhou International Finance Center GZIFC (Near Guangzhou CTF Finance Center. Metro Lines 3 and 5, Zhujiang New Town Station) is the 26th tallest building in the world (as of 2020). Completed in 2010, it is 440 meters (1,440 feet) tall and has 103 floors. It is the world's tallest building with a roof-top helipad. The building was the winner of the RIBA 2012 Lubetkin Prize. [Source: Wikipedia]
Construction of the building, designed by WilkinsonEyre, began in December 2005, and was completed in 2010. The building is used as a conference center, hotel and office building. Floors 1 through 66 are used as offices, floors 67 and 68 are for mechanical equipment, floors 69 to 98 have a Four Seasons Hotel with the lobby being on the 70th floor, and floors 99 and 100 are used as an observation deck.
The building was previously known as Guangzhou West Tower and had a related project, the proposed Guangzhou East Tower, which, at 475 meter (1,558 feet), would have been even taller, though that project has been awarded to a different design by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Guangzhou CTF Finance Center.
Historical Sights in Guangzhou
Memorial Park of the Martyrs commemorates the people who died in the Ghangzhou Uprising in 1927. Inside the park are pavilions, gardens and a huge burial mound surrounded by a marble wall. The remains of the 5,000 people that died in the uprising are buried inside the mound.
Former Site of Whampoa Military Academy (Changzhou Island, Huangpu District) was destroyed during the war against Japan (1937-1945), and was restored in 1964.Located on Changzhou Island of Huangpu District, Guangzhou, the Whampoa Military Academy was founded in 1924 by Sun Yat-sen to cultivate military officers. The academy gathers the revolutionary military talents at the time. Chiang Kai-shek was appointed the first commandant of the academy and Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People's Republic of China, was once among the instructors in the academy's political department. Within the site, you can find the Sun Yat-sen Monument, old school buildings and an exhibition of the historical records of the Whampoa Military Academy. Hours Open: 9:00am-5:00pm (closed on Monday), Tel:86-20-82203564; Getting There: Take bus No. 43 or 292 and get off at Xieshan Station; Admission: 15 yuan.
Archaeological Sites of Southern Yue State
The archaeological sites of the Southern Yue State (in Yuexiu District, Guangzhou) — the palace of the Southern Yue State, the tomb of the Southern Yue King, and the wooden Watergate of the Southern Yue State — were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in. 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The Southern Yue State (203 B.C.-111B.C.) was a vassal state founded in the southern China during the early years of the western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220). Its establishment accelerated the leap of development in social history in Lingnan region from the primitive society to the feudal society. [Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]
"The tomb of the Southern Yue King was discovered in 1983, which ranked one of the top five important archaeological discoveries of China in the 1980's. It's by far the largest intact tomb of colour-painted stone chamber with the richest burial articles. Over 1000 pieces (or sets) of cultural relics were unearthed from the tomb, which were of great variety including ritual and musical instruments, weapons, food vessels, cloths, life utensils, jade carvings and gold and silver works.
"The archaeological site of the palace of the Southern Yue State is located in the old city centre of Guangzhou. The sizable stone-structured pond found in 1995 and the artificial stone brook discovered in 1997 were both titled as one of annual top ten archaeological discoveries of China. Composed by the stone pond and the stone brook, the imperial garden of the Southern Yue State was the oldest example discovered so far with complete preservation. It exemplifies a royal gardening of the Qin and the Han period, and pioneers the Lingnan gardening, one of the three gardening schools in China. The various stone posts, rails, pillars, door-heads, and antefixes founded in the garden have revealed the architectural design concept of the earlier palaces.
"In 2000, to the west of the imperial garden, relics of two halls of the Southern Yue palace were found. In the site of the Hall No. 2, a pottery fragment inscribed with "Hall Huayin" was unearthed. In the year 2004, about 100 pieces of written wooden slips were unearthed from a draining well to the west of the garden. The slips were mainly residence booklets and legal documents. On the slips, we can see chronological records and various systems about the kingdom. Furthermore, the palace and garden were also mentioned, which were strong proofs to the authenticity of the site. Besides, a large amount of renmants of animals and plants were cleared out from the well. All of those are direct evidences to the original scenes of the garden. Among the renmants of plants, a seed of wax gourd was found, which is by far the earliest example known in the world and of great importance to the study of its origin.
"The site of wooden Watergate of Southern Yue State unearthed in 2000 is by far the earliest wooden Watergate discovered in the world. It served as part of the city flood control system operating some 2000 years ago. The technical parameters of the Watergate meet the modern standards and requirements in Watergate building in terms of its selection of construction materials, treatment of soft and loose ground sills, treatment of technical lining, overall layout, discharge treatment, and stability treatment of the Watergate chamber. The relic of the Watergate of Southern Yue State embodies the high level of Watergate building during the Qin and Han periods.
"The archaeological site of the Southern Yue State is a valuable demonstration in kind for the study of ancient China architecture. The discovery and the protection of the sites is of great significant value to the study of the history of the Qin and Han period, the history of early development of the Lingnan region during this periods, in particular, to the rapid development in politics, economy and cultural during this periods. Meanwhile, the site of the palace of the Southern Yue State is a book of history reflecting the development of Guangzhou during the course of some 2000 years. The site preserved cultural relics of each historical period, from Dynasties of the Qin, Han, Jin, Nanchao, Sui, Tang and Nan Han in Wudai Period, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing and the ROC. The area of the site has been the centre of the city since 2000 years ago. This rare situation of Guangzhou in the development history of Chinese cities reveals the advanced ideas of choosing and planning the capital city of the Southern Yue State. It is of great value for studying the history of Chinese ancient cities, the history of Chinese ancient architecture, and of realistic significance for the modern cities to maintain a sustainable development."
Museums in Guangzhou
Museums in Guangzhou include the 1) Guangdong Museum, with a large dinosaur room; 2) Zhujiang-InBev International Beer Museum; 3) Cantonese Opera Art Museum; 4) Guangzhou Museum, mostly related to the history of Guangzhou; 5) Guangdong Museum of Art, mostlt containing contemporary pieces of fine art specifically relevant to Guangdong; 6) Peasant Movement Training Institute; 7) Guangzhou Museum of Art; 8) Liwan Museum; 9) Yuexiu District Museum; and 10) Folk Craftwork Museum (in Chen Ancestral Temple).
Nanyue King's Tomb Museum (No. 867 Jiefang North Road, Metro Line 2, Yuexiu Park station, Exit E) houses the 2,000-year-old tomb of the Nanyue King Zhao Mo who ruled from 137 to 122 B.C. The tomb was discovered in downtown Guangzhou in 1983. The museum is well known for its elegant Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220) architecture, and showcases Guangzhou's near 2,000-year history. Belonging to the second king of Nanyue Zhao Mo, the tomb was discovered in 1983 and opened to the public in 1988. Hidden 20 meters (65.6 feet) underground, the tomb is made up of 750 huge stones with colorful murals. The museum contains a jade burial suit made of 2,291 pieces of jade connected by silk thread in which royal members in Han dynasty China were buried. This is the highight of the museum and one of teh few of its kind in the world. Admission: 12 yuan; Tel: 86-20-36182920 Hours Open: 9:00am-5:30pm; Getting There: Take bus No. 203, 273, 552, 7, 543, 211, 29 or 7 and get off at Jiefang North Road Station;
Times Museum (Metro Line 2, Huangbian Station) is interesting architecturally and has quality exhibitions. According to the its website: “ Guangdong Times Museum is a non-profit institution funded by private sectors, and Times China has been the core funder since the inauguration of the Museum. Co-founded by Times Property (former name of Times China) and Guangdong Museum of Art (GDMA), Times Museum was set up as a branch of GDMA at Times Rose Garden in 2003. When Wang Huangsheng, the Former Director of GDMA and the curator Hou Hanru invited Rem Koolhaas and Alan Fouraux to conceptualize an architectural proposal in the D-Lab of the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial in 2005, the Museum was incubated as a hub for artistic experiments in the region of Pearl River Delta. After the completion of its facility, Guangdong Times Museum became independent and officially opened its door to the public in December 31, 2010.
Vitamin Creative Space (503-B, Building 2, Northern District, Pingod Community, No. 32 Baiziwan Road) operates as both a private independent art space and a commercial gallery. There are often performance art pieces and other interactive art works going on here. Founded in 2002, Vitamin Creative Space explores an alternative working mode specifically geared to the contemporary Chinese context, and constantly inspired by the confrontation between the contemporary life and ancient Chinese philosophy.
Mirrored Gardens (Hualong Agriculture Grand View Garden, Panyu District) is a form of “constructed nature”, where contemporary art practice, quotidian life and farming-oriented life practice meet, merge and overlap with each other. The architecture of Mirrored Gardens is designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects. Inspired by the natural and traditional character of the surrounding villages, the project seeks to merge with its environment.
Temples and Churches in Guangzhou
Guang Xiao Si Temple is one of the oldest temples in Guangzhou. In the 1970s workmen accidently broke a Buddha statue, which turned out to be hollow and had 70 little figurines inside. Unfortunately most of them were quickly snatched as good luck charms and not that many of them are left.
Sacred Heart Cathedral (No. 56 Yide Road) is 35 meters wide and 78.69 meters long and has , and has twin towers that are 58.5 meters high. The largest Gothic Roman Catholic church in China and Southeast Asia, it is sometimes referred to as 'Notre-Dame de Paris' in the East.Sacred Heart Cathedral, or Stone House, a Roman Catholic cathedral, is one of the oldest churches in Guangzhou and the largest of its kind in Southern China. Located on the north bank of the Pearl River, the church stands in the heart of the busy old town.
The cathedral was consecrated in 1888 after 25 years of construction. The construction of the cathedral turned out to be very challenging. None of the Chinese workers at that time had seen a western cathedral before, let alone built one. It was also tough for them to communicate with the French clergy who commissioned the building. Getting There: Take bus No. 4, 8, 61, 82, 238 or 823 and get off at Yide Road Station. Mass Times: Weekday Daily: 6:45 AM (Cantonese); Saturday: 6:45 AM (Cantonese), 4:30pm (Korean), 7:30pm (Mandarin); Sunday: 6:30 AM (Cantonese), 8:30 AM (Cantonese), 10:30 AM (Mandarin), 3:30pm (English). Tel:86-20-83336737
Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family (No. 34 Enlong Lane, Zhongshan 7th Road) is an academic and spiritual temple in Guangzhou. Also called Chen Ancestral Temple and Chen Clan Academy, it is an important site built in the 12th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1894) with the donations of members from the Chen family who lived in 72 different counties in the Guangdong province. It used to supply accommodation for members of the Chen family who came to Guangzhou for imperial examinations.
Chen Ancestral Temple is a massive, luxuriously furnished complex constructed in typical southern architectural style. Financed by the Chen family for Emperor Guangxi, the temple contains six courtyards, nine main halls and a collection of art that includes wood carvings, stone carvings, lime carvings, pottery, and cast iron pieces decorated with historical figures and mythical figures. The temple now houses the is Guangdong Folk Craftwork Museum.
The temple consists of 19 buildings with nine halls and six courtyards, connected by corridors. It exemplifies traditional Chinese architectural style and has been well preserved. The temple was listed as key cultural relic under state protection in 1988. It now also houses the Guangdong Folk Art Museum, which features a large number of works from southern China including wood carvings and pottery. Admission: 20 yuan; Hours Open: 8:30am 17:30pm, Tel:86-20-81814559; Getting There: Take bus No. 85, 88, 104, 107, 109, 114, 128, 193, 204, 233, 250, 260, 268 or 286 and get off at Chen Clan Academy Station.
Bright Filial Piety Temple
The Bright Filial Piety Temple (No. 109 Guangxiao Road, Metro Line 1, Ximenkou Station) is the oldest Buddhist temple in Guangzhou, with a history dating back more than 1,700 years. It is said that it has a longer history than the city of Guangzhou. The temple holds an important place in Buddhist history. Huineng, the sixth master of the Zen Sect of Buddhism, had his hair cut and was initiated into monkhood there. In the temple there is also a pagoda where Huineng's hair was buried. The architecture of the temple and cultural relics provide insight into the history of Chinese Buddhism, culture, and architecture as well as the local history of Guangdong Province.
Bright Filial Piety Temple was originally built as the residence of Zhao Jiande, an offspring of Zhao Tuo, the Nanyue King in the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 9) . In the period of the Three Kingdoms, Yu Fan, a lord in the Wu State, when he was relegated to the Southern Sea, he gave lectures here and hence the Guangxiao Temple was called “Yu Yuan” at that time. The temple was also called “He Lin” because of a great many myrobalam trees there. After Yu Fan’s death, his family denoted the residence as a temple and made a slab saying “Zhizhi”, and that was the very beginning of the Guangxiao Temple.
There is the saying that “Bright Filial Piety Temple existed before the Goat City (Guangzhou) came into being”. The temple’s long history means that it has a lot of antiques and old stuff. The Grief Bell which was first set up in the 2nd year of Baoli in the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 826) is in the shape of mushroom and is made of stone with Hercules’ embossments around. Those embossments are vivid in facial expressions and well shaped and elegant in postures so that they completely represent the soul of Buddhism. There is a drum for the prayer meeting festival on the top of the drum tower and it corresponds to and chimes in the bell.
Whenever there is a solemn prayer meeting festival, the bell and the drum will ring at the same time and the atmosphere is so dignified that visitors will be totally lost in the situation. The Grand Hall which was built in the Eastern Jin Period is stately and shows the profound details of Buddhism in Guangxiao Temple in terms of its constant play of musical stones and cymbals. Besides, inside the temple there are washing bowl spring carved by dharma in the Southern Dynasty, stone bell of the Tang Dynasty, the iron tower with thousands of Buddhist statues of the Song Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty and the Lying Buddhists Palace, which are all the precious antiques with long history. They are of great value for researching the Buddhism culture and the history of Guangzhou.
Visitors can enjoy many local religious celebrations at the end of August when the land-and-water prayer meeting festival is held here. And you can also enjoy the beautiful scene of dense myrobalam trees and pipals at that time. The temple is situated in Yuexiu District and there are a great many restaurants which mainly offer Cantonese cuisine. Please respect Buddhists customs when there. Getting There: Metro Line 1, Ximenkou Station' or Take bus No. 4, 88, 186, 250 or 823 and get off at Ximenkou Station; Admission: 5 yuan; Hours Open: 6:30am-5:00pm;
Temple of Six Banyan Trees
Six Banyan Tree Temple (Liurong Street, Metro Line 1 or 2, Gongyuanqian station) was built in 537 and named after six banyan trees that once grew in its courtyard. Inside the temple complex sits the wondrously decorated, 175-foot-high Flower Temple, which for a long time was the tallest structure in Guangzhou. In the main hall there are stone tablets and three giant bronze Buddhas, each weighing 10 tons, that are the biggest old bronze pieces in Guangdong province. Nearby the temple is the Mosque Dedicated to a Saint which is the oldest mosque in China. The famous "naked minaret" is found on this mosque.
The Temple of Six Banyan Trees has a long history in Guangzhou and is an ancient monastery famous at home and abroad. There are majestic towers, dense trees, plenty of antiques and valuable heritage from those famous people in the history. It is one of the four Buddhism temple complexes in Guangzhou and the other three are Guangxiao Temple, Hualin Temple, Haizhuang Temple. Therefore, it is an important unit for the preservation of antiques.
Temple of Six Banyan Trees was first built in the 3rd year of Datong (537 A.D.), the reign of Emperor Wu in the Southern Liang Dynasty. It was originally called Baozhuangyan Temple. It was changed successively into Chaoshou Temple, Songchu Temple in the Southern Han Dynasty. But the temple was damaged in a big fire. Later, the temple was rebuilt in the 2nd year of Duangong in the Northern Song Dynasty (989 A.D.) and was named as Jinghui Temple. In the 4th year of Shaosheng in the Southern Song Dynasty (1097 A. D.), the temple was repaired and people buried Buddha’s relics under it and built thousands of Buddhist statues in the niches and hence it was changed into Qianfo Temple later.
In the 3rd year of Yuanfu in the Northern Song Dynasty (1100 A. D.), Su Dongpo, a great litterateur, seeing that the six banyans were verdant and entangled with each other and full of power and grandeur, autographed the words of “Liurong”(means six banyan trees) when he visited the temple and was asked to inscribe for the temple by Daozong, a monk in the temple, on his way to the north after he was relegated from Hainan. Later, people valued Su Dongpo’s handwriting and inscribed it into a wooden slab and hung it above the temple’s gate. In the 9th year of Yongle in the Ming Dynasty (1411 A. D.), the Jinghui Temple was renamed as Liurong Temple, and hence the Dagoba Tower was called Temple of Six Banyan Trees, also the Flower Temple.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Metro Line 2, Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall) was built on the site of the house that Dr. Sun occupied when he was the provisional president in Canton in 1922. Located inside the beautiful 247-acre Yue Xiu Park, the Memorial Hall includes an octagonal palace and 4,700-seat auditorium.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is built in order to commemorate the contributions of Sun Tat-sen (Sun Zhongshan) and initially paid for with donations from the people in Guangzhou and overseas Chinese. Designed by the famous Chinese architect, Lu Yanzhi, it was built between 1929 and 1931 and rebuilt under the Communists in the 1990s.
The memorial hall and the courtyard together cover an area of 62,000 square meters with the 6,600-square-meter’s major building with a framework of steel work and reinforced concrete. In the front of the memorial hall, there erects the statue of Mr. Sun Zhongshan. And there hangs a golden slab with four Chinese characters of “Tian Xia Wei Gong” written by Sun Yat-sen himself above the front door of the memorial hall. With the statue and the slab reflecting and corresponding to each other, there forms a magnificent scene which reminds people of the brilliant life experience of the great man.
The central coping of the octagon pavilion of the Zhongshan Memorial Hall is surrounded by the four decorating double eaves from the front, back, left, and right sides of it. The whole construction is majestic, solemn and rich in Chinese national culture. Inside the memorial hall, there are tall and straight ancient but precious trees and cloud pillars with lifelike cranes on them, presenting a magnificent scene. Around the memorial hall, yellow walls and red pillars decorated by blue glazed tiles, are shining in the sun, showing the resplendence and solemnity. Back of the memorial hall, there is the Zhongshan Monument erecting on the top of Yuexiu Mountain. The monument is so remarkable and stately that it seems to go clean through the sky. The audience house inside the memorial hall, with a domed roof which is a huge embedded sprung roof made of glasses that has no supporting pillars to impair the view but rarely produces echoes, is an outstanding construction among world-famous architecture.
Image Sources: Province maps from the Nolls China Web site. Photographs of places from 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization; 2) Nolls China Web site; 3) Perrochon photo site; 4) Beifan.com; 5) tourist and government offices linked with the place shown; 6) Mongabey.com; 7) University of Washington, Purdue University, Ohio State University; 8) UNESCO; 9) Wikipedia; 10) Julie Chao photo site
Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in May 2020