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Guangzhou City Guide (Canton City Guide)

night view of downtown guangzhou
Downtown Guangzhou Night View

In China, there is a non-governmental classification and evaluation on city levels. The first-class cities (basically equates the international centers) in mainland China is comprised of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In this way, it is naturally known that the status of Guangzhou in China. Guangzhou (广州, Wide Prefecture), traditionally called Canton in regional dialect, is the internationally famous metropolis in China, and the south center. In economy, it is the economic development center guiding the trend of south China’s upgrading. Frankly, Guangzhou leads one pillar of Chinese economy – Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, one of the most developed regions of China, plus the developed area in Asia. Also in south China, it together with Shenzhen (A special pioneering and testing city of mainland China in the aspect of economical development, political reform and other aspects) takes in charge of all kinds of reforms and tests, and this is closely connected with the special history and tradition of Guangzhou in modern China. Hence, Guangzhou has a privileged importance in China.


Status, History and Tourist Attractions of Guangzhou

sun yat-sen memorial hall
Memorial Hall of Sun Yat-sen

The abbreviation of Guangzhou is Sui(穗), and anciently called Panyu(番禺, today is a county under the administration of Guangzhou ) and Nanhai(南海, South Sea). The city symbol is the Statue of Five Goats, so it is also popularly known as The Goat City. Guangzhou is located in south part of Guangdong province and the north side of Pearl River Delta. In geography, Guangzhou is closer to Hong Kong and Macau. In national strategy, Guangzhou is one of China’s Five National Central Cities and Three Portal Cities of China. Guangzhou is the provincial capital of Guangzhou province, also the center of south China’s economy, finance, trade, culture, science-technology and transportation. Guangzhou is also one of Chinese most important opening harbor cities. Recently, more and more foreigners come to Guangzhou. And then, Guangzhou also boasts The Capital of The Third World (A concept said to be created by Chairman Mao). Used to be the starting point of Oceanic Silk Road, Guangzhou is the largest and oldest treaty port in south China, and also one of world’s most famous harbor cities.

canton fair hall
Canton Fair Hall

At present, the economy of Guangzhou ranks the fourth place in China, next to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. The world-famous Canton Fair (China Import and Export Fair) is hosted in Guangzhou annually. Today, the administrative zones of Guangzhou including Yuexiu district, Tianhe district, Baiyun district, Liwan district, Luogang district, Huangpu district, Haizhu district, Panyu district, Huadu district, Nansha district, Zengcheng city and Conghua city. The landmarks of Guangzhou include Tower of Guangzhou, Haixinsha, Stone Statues of Five Goats, Military School of Huangpu, Memorial Hall of Doctor Sun Yat-sen, Zhenhai Tower, White Swan Hotel, Haizhu Bridge, BRT, Zhongxin Square, Tianhe Town, Pazhou International Exhibition Center, Twin Towers of Guangzhou, New White Cloud International Airport, White Cloud Mountain, Guangzhou Provincial Museum and New City of Zhujiang. The highlights of Guangzhou tourist attractions are the New Eight Classic Views, Museum of South-Yue King, Guangzhou Art Museum, Guangzhou Flower Expo Park, South China Botanical Garden, Guangdong Gallery, Shangxiajiulu Business Pedestrian Mall, Beijing Road Business Pedestrian Mall, beside the landmarks of Guangzhou. In a word, Guangzhou is never short of travel resources.

the staute of five goats
The Five Goats Statue

Guangzhou has more than 2200 years of history and is written into the list of Chinese cultural and historic cities. Since Qin and Han Dynasties, Guangzhou is the center of politics, economy and culture in Lingnan region (岭南, South Region of Five Ridges). Initially built in 214BC,Guangzhou was called Renxiao Town(任嚣城), since the interconnection with Chu state roughly in century 9 BC, the folk people together Chu people built up a city named Chu Ting(楚庭, The Court of Chu). During the period of Three Kingdoms, Sun Quan, the king of Wu Kingdom divided Jiaozhou(交州, the ancient administration prefecture of south China) into Jiaozhu and Guangzhou in 226, and then Guangzhou firstly appeared in history of China. The ancient city of Guangzhou used to be the ancient capital of three states. In Song Dynasty, Guangzhou had eight satellite cities. Guangzhou has a large number of ancient sites. Currently, there are 219 historic sites protected in different levels of governments. Among them, there are 19 national key sites, and 41provincial sites and 159 municipal sites. In recent years, many archeological discoveries attract the attentions of the world like the shipbuilding sites of Qin and Han Dynasties and Palace Sites of South Yue King. Furthermore, the Oceanic Silk Road starting from Guangzhou also gives the world many surprises and many discoveries under the ocean show the glory of ancient Guangzhou. Today, South-Yue-Kingdom Palace Sites, South-Yue-King Mausoleum and Water Gate Site of South Yue King are packaged as a tentative of World Cultural Heritage.


Huangpu Military Academy and
National Guangdong University (Sun Yat-sen University)

Chiang Kai-shek in Huangpu Military Academy
Chiang Kai-shek in Huangpu
Military Academy of Guangzhou

In modern times, Guangzhou is the center of Chinese revolution and the cradle of The Republic of China and Kuomintang. In 1924, Sun Yat-sen practiced his thinking that the education is the great career, and the talents are the base of nation. And he established two academies. One is military-oriented one, named Huangpu Military Academy. The famous Huangpu Military School makes a miracle of educating so many outstanding marshals and generals, who did a great contribution in anti-Japanese war and World War Two. The other is National Guangdong University, which was an academic one to raise the national management talents. Today’s National Guangdong University is Sun Yat-sen University, which has two different campus respectively located in Guangzhou and Taiwan. Sun Yat-sen University is a top comprehensive university of China. Sun Yat-sen’s arrangement absolutely reveals the traditional arts of administration. Chinese people call it Wen Wu Zhi Dao(文武之道, The Administrative Ways of Kings Wen and Wu in Zhou Period), exactly, the preparation on both sides of military and culture


Culture and Legend of Guangzhou

guangzhou and Chinese kungfu masters
Guangzhou Kungfu Masters

Lingnan Regional Culture(岭南文化) is a typical representative of south China’s traditional culture. It is a system including Lingnan painting, Lingnan architecture, Lingnan garden, Lingnan Miniascape, Guangdong Music, Yue Opera, Yue Cuisine, Yue Dialect and the landscape &lifestyle of region. Guangzhou is the center of Lingnan culture. The splendid opera and music really bring a refreshing feeling. Today, in Hong Kong, the main local culture is Lingnan culture. The Hong Kong Music, Movies, Operas and Cuisine are mostly from Guangzhou.

Guangzhou also called Five-Goat City and City of Spike. It was said that in Zhou period, the local people of Guangzhou suffered from a long-time famine, and people were destitute. One day, five colorful clouds came from South Sea; there were five gods riding goats appeared. And the goats held five-color rice spikes in the mouths, and the immortals presented the spikes to the local people and gave them the good blessing. After gods left, the goats stayed in humankind to bless and protect this place. The local people for showing their gratitude to five gods, and built a temple called Five-God Temple, and in temple, there are five statues of gods with goats.

The Tradition of West Pass and East Hill. West Pass is the outside of west gate of the old downtown Guangzhou. East Hill is the outside of the east gate. Two are opposite. In history, two regions have different cultural characteristics. West Pass has a lower terrain and a lot of waterways. This region is quite populous. In Guangzhou, there is a proverb: Signorino Living in East Hill, and Signorina Living in West Pass. Traditionally, East Hill region is the residences of the authorities, and sons of those high officials lived here, and the buildings are mostly featured of the western architectural styles. The West Pass is the business center, and the daughters of rich businessmen lived here, and the lifestyles are absolutely traditional. Generally, two of them got married and show the attributes of Guangzhou, a city of Sino-west culture.

By the way, the traditional architecture of Guangzhou is also quite special. It deserves the attention indeed. If you are interested in opera, Yue Opera is your first choice in Guangzhou. Guangzhou is also the center of Chinese Kungfu culture, many movies about Huang Feihong, Ye Wen and Bruce Lee are closely connected with Guangzhou.




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