Archive for the ‘Guangzhou Travel’ Category

Guangzhou’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
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Guangzhou is oft-lauded as the “Southern Gate to China”, one of the three megacities in China and other two are Beijing and Shanghai. The three metropolitan cities are competing for the tallest building and currently Shanghai is the winner with Shanghai Tower the tallest at 632 meters and Guangzhou Tower the second 600 meters.

Of course, speaking of a city’s landmark, we don’t necessarily list all the top tallest buildings in that city.  A city’s landmarks don’t have to be physically tallest, but they should have important impact on people’s minds in terms of their history, culture, intriguing stories behind them and spectacular buildings as well, which reflect the city’s image and charactors. Plan your Guangzhou tour? Below are the top 10 landmarks you shouldn’t miss.

1.  Zhenhai Tower 镇海楼 (1380)
Zhenhai Tower is one of the architectural landmarks in Guangzhou. It stands on the ridge known as “Xiaopanlong Ridge” (literally a small coiled dragon ridge ) on Yuexiu Hill, within now Today’s Yuexiu Park. In the 13th year of Hongwu Period (1380 ) in Ming Dynasty, a massive city reconstruction was carried out in Guangzhou. The northern city wall was expanded to Yuexiu Hill and on the hilltop a 5-story build was built for the purpose of overlooking the surrounding area.

“Zhenhai” literally means “control or suppress the sea”. Here “sea” refers to Pearl River( or Zhujiang River and Zhu River ). Zhenhai Tower is also known as “Wanghai Tower” and here “Wanghai” mens “Overlooking the sea”, viewing Zhujiang River. Historically Zhenhai Tower was reconstructed for 5 times. The present building was rebuilt in 1928, a  reinforced concrete structure transformed from its former wooden building.

In 1950s, the building was turned into a city museum known as ” Guangzhou Museum”, displaying the materials and relics regarding to Guangzhou’s development in the past 2000 years. It was listed as the National Protection Key Unit in March, 2013.

2.   The Cathedral of Sacred Heart 石室圣心大教堂 (1888)
Out from Shamian Island, you just stroll along the Green Path along the northern bank of Zhujiang River to the east direction, soon you reach Renmin South Road ( 人民南路), then walking along Renmin South Road in the north direction and turn left at Yide Road ( 一德路). When you see a big signboard over the street with the two Chinese chinese characters ””石室”, then you turn left and see the towering Church.

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction with walls and columns made of granite. It is well known both in the main land China,and oversea for its gothic architectural style and characteristic features of high towers, clusters of huge columns, pointed arches and stained glass windows.

It was founded 1863 and completed in 1888, date of the Feast of Sacred Heart which become the name of the Cathedral. It covers an area of some 2754 square meters, 35m west to east,78.69m high.

3.  Stone Sculpture of Five Rams 广州五羊石像 (1959)
Yuexiu Park is the biggest park in Guangzhou. It belongs to the ending ranges of Baiyun Mountain, stretching for 3 kilometers from the east to the west with an altitude of over 70 meters.

There are many beautiful views and historical relics in the park. The Five-Ram Sculpture is one of the most famous structures in Yuexiu Park.  If you want to travel around Guangzhou, Yuexiu Park is a good place for you to know about the city.

Stone Sculpture of Five Rams

Stone Sculpture of Five Rams

The Five Ram Statue is one of the emblems and landmarks in Guangzhou.  Legend has it that five celestial immortals riding on rams arrived in town with rice stems which they presented to locals to get rid of poverty and famine as a gift from heaven. The sculpture was completed in 1959, and made of  over 130 blocks of granite, 11 meters tall.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: 06:00-21:00
How to get there: You can get to the park by taking Bus No. 2, 5, 6, 10, 58, or 101, or taking Subway Line 2 to Yuexiu Gongyuan Station

4. Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Memorial Hall 孙中山纪念堂(1931)
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a large octagonal building with a span of 71 meters without pillars, accommodating a big stage and holds 3,240 people. It is one of Guangzhou City’s most well known landmarks. The hall was designed by Lu Yanzhi and was constructed with funds raised by local and overseas Chinese people in memory of Sun Yat-sen. Construction work started in 1929 and completed in 1931.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

The exterior of the hall contains some gardens, and decorative historical walls. It has many wide open spaces where the people of Guangzhou often go to spend some time relaxing.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours:08:00-18:00
How to get there: take Subway Line 2 to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall; or take Buses No.2, 27, 42, 56, 62, 74, 80, 83, 133, 185, 204, 209, 224, 229, 261, 276, 284, 293, 297, 305, 518 or 543, Guangzhou

5. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall  陈家祠 (1894)
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall was originally built by the 72 Chen clans for the accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations from Chen families in 1894 in Qing Dynasty. Later it was turned to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and later middle schools afterward.

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

Now it is home to the Guangdong Folk Art. The Chen clan ancestral hall is famous for the ornate decoration which is presented inside and outside the halls. A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving are seen on the walls,beams, columns, ridges and soon, a trove of Chinese folk arts.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30
How to get there: take subway Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station

6. Canton Tower  广州塔 (2010)
Canton Tower( or Guangzhou Tower) is the tallest structure in Guangzhou, also known as the Guangzhou TV Astronomical & Sight Seeing Tower. It is a multi-purpose tower – Guangzhou TV, Observation, Recreation and Sightseeing with the height of 600 meters, the second tallest structure in China just after Shanghai Tower. It is the most essential landmark in Guangzhou, upgrading its image around the world.

The Canton Tower is designed by the Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit of Information Based Architecture, together with Arup, the international design, engineering and business consulting firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom.  The Canton tower is in a twisted shape or hyperboloid structure.

The Canton Tower is situated on the confluence of the city’s new axis and Zhujiang Sightseeing Axis, about 125 meters south of the Pearl River (Zhujiang River or Zhu River).

7. Guangzhou International Finance Center 广州国际金融中心 (广州西塔)  2010
Guangzhou International Finance Centre, also known as Guangzhou West Tower, is a 438.6-meter high skyscraper with 103 stories, a part of the Guangzhou Twin Towers.

Guangzhou International Finance Center

Guangzhou International Finance Center

This highest building was designed by Wilkinson Eyre. Its construction started in 20015 and was completed in 2010. It is a multi-function building used for conference, hotel and office buildings. It is situated in the financial business center along the city’s new axis.

8. CITIC Plaza 广州中信广场 (1996)
China International Trust and Investment (CITIC) Plaza is a 391 meter skyscraper with an 80-storey  in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou. It is the second tallest building in Guangzhou, one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in Guangzhou.

Its structural height includes two antenna-like spires on the top and completed in 1996. It is located along the city’snew axis, surrounded by other tall buildings, a symbol of Guangzhou’s booming wealth and development.

9. Pazhou International Exhibition Center  琶洲展馆 (2002)
The Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center is located in Pazhou Island in the southeast of the central district of Guangzhou. Panzhou is the future central district of Guangzhou with many commercial and recreational facilities including the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Pazhou International Exhibition Center

Pazhou International Exhibition Center

The Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center has an area of 414000 square meters with the construction area of 395000 square meters. It has 13 exhibition halls with a total exhibition area of 130000 square meters.

It is a ultramodern building completed in 2002 with perfect combination of efficiency, intelligence, humanization and ecology. The main design principle of Exhibition Center is to promote the image of “flowing” of Pearl River. The wave like rooftop just likes the river flowing by. It meets the surrounding environment perfectly. This design principle is unique in all of the exhibition centres around the world.

10. Guangzhou Opera House 广州歌剧院 (2010)
Guangzhou Opera House is an opera house in Guangzhou. Now the theatre has become the biggest performing centre in southern China and is one of the three biggest theatres in China alongside Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and Shanghai’s Shanghai Grand Theatre.

It was designed by Zaha Hadid with the “Double Pebble”.  Its freestanding concrete auditorium set within an exposed granite and glass-clad steel frame took over five years to build.

 

Any questions, just drop a  line.

How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
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Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is officially known as the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum (西汉南越王博物馆). If you are interested in history or archiology,  Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is a nice place to go on your short Guangzhou tour.

The museum is built on the burial site of Zhao Mo, the second king of Nanyue Kindom that existed for 93 years (203 BC – 111 BC) with 5 successive kings. Nanyue Kingdom was a dependent state of Western Han Dynasty in China (202BC- 9AD).  The first king of Nanyue was Zhao Tuo who was sent here as one of local officials to quell the unrest at the end of Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) preceding Western Han Dynasty.

In the chaotic course of transition from Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) to Western Han Dynasty  (202BC- 9AD), Zhao Tuo established his own kingdom in Lingnan Region with Guangzhou as his capital. His and other  four later kings of Nanyue Kingdom had a hard time with Western Han Dynasty going through ups and turns, interwoven between wars and harmony.

Finally the kingdom was wiped off in the year 111BC  by the Western Han Dynasty, hence the name for the museum –  the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum.

The tomb was discovered incidentally in June, 1983 when people were digging and measuring to build new apartments here. So  the construction had to stop to make way for the building of the magnificent museum. In 1988 then museum was open to the public with a construction area of 17400 square meters.

The museum is mainly composed of three structures – the three-storey comprehensive exhibition hall by the Jiefang North Road,  the burial site of the Nanyue King and another two-storey exhibition hall. The burial site is on Xianggang Hill just behind the three-storey comprehensive building.  North  of the burial site is the two-storey exhibition hall.

The three-storey Comprehensive Exhibition Hall displays a ceramic pillow exhibition and other special exhibition events  like the Guangzhou exhibitions that are often changed. The two-storey Principal Exhibition Hall mainly accommodates the relics discovered for the tomb of the Zhao Mo in Nanyue Kingdom period.

How to get to the Nanyue Kingdom Museum
While you are in Guangzhou,  try o find your nearest subway station.  Take metro Line 2 ( or interchange from other metro lines ) and get off at the station of Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) using Exit E. Walking along the sideway to the north direction for about 5 minutes, you will see a vermilion building – Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue King.

Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou Zip Code: 510040
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:30
It is open all year round except Feb 28 and August 31  – the two days are closed for restoration.
Entrance fee:  free of Charge
Tel: 36182920、36182865

Now follow me to have a glimpse of the great museum in Guangzhou.  All the items on show have their English captions.  The museum also have audio English speaking tour guide service.

The vermilion facade of the museum. Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou

The vermilion facade of the Musuem

The vermilion facade of the Musuem

The Comprehensive Exhibition Hall
When you enter the museum,  you are inside the Comprehensive exhibition Hall, a 3-storey building.  You may walk up to the second or third floor to visit Pottery Pillow Show or other special exhibitions.

up to the second or third floor

up to the second or third floor

 

The exhibition hall is quite flexible in displaying different themed exhibitions except one fixed show – Ceramic Pillows Show.

Ceramic Pillows Show.

Ceramic Pillows Show.

Over 200 porcelain  pillows housed in a permanent exhibitioon gallery – Ceramic Pillows Exhibition Gallery on the second floor in the 3-storey exhibiton hall.  All the pottery pillows are donated by the Hong Kong famous collector and industralist Yeung Wing Tak and his wife.

The pillow with paintings

The pillow with paintings

The Yeungs  are ardent collectors and lovers of pottery and porcelain. Their main interest is focused on the collection of ceramic pillows.  Through years of collection, they have built up a collection of over 200 pottery pillows.

They think all the works of arts are the common cultural heritage of mankind.  They decided to donate all their collection to the public aimed at letting more people appreciate the ceratic pillow culture.

Beside the pillow show, the comprehensive exhibition hall also display the artifacts unearthed within Guangdong Province.

More artifacts on show from within Guangdong Province

More artifacts on show from within Guangdong Province

The Tomb of Zhao Mo, the Second King of Nanyue Kingdom
The highlight for the museum is the tomb of Zhao Mo.  The tomb was buried 20 meters underground on Xianggang Hill. The tomb is composed of the Tomb passage, an antechamber, the East Side Chamber, the West Side Chamber,  the Main Coffin Room, East Side Room, West Side Room and  the Rear Store Room.

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb on Xianggang Hill west of the Comprehensive Exhibition Hall and south of  The Principal Exhibition Hall.

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb

A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb

the Tomb Passager

the Tomb Passager

the Tomb passage

Enter the antechamber and explore the underground tomb

Enter the antechamber

Enter the antechamber

Visiting the East Side Room

Enter the antechamber

Enter the antechamber

The tomb was built with over 700 huge stones and slabs carved with colorful murals. A great number of ancient artifacts, bronzeware and terra cotta ware were discovered.

The King of Zhao Mo was in the jade shroud with typical jade burial rite. In addition, 15 human sacrifices found in the tomb reflects the unique burial customs.

The Principal Exhibition Hall
The Principal Exhibition Hall displays  the artifacts unearthed from Zhao Mo’s Tomb.  It is estimated that over 1000 artifacts have  been excavated from the tomb, including cultural relics of bronze and pottery of Lingnan style, 3 sets of bronze bells instruments, 39 copper mirrors,  3 golden seals and  240 pieces of unearthed jade, the Zhao Mo’s burial jade suit and the world’s first coated copper printing mold.

The unearthed objects are regarded as the light and national treasures of  Lingnan culture.

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

Zhao Mo was in jade shroud

The unearthed jade carving

The unearthed jade carving

The unearthed jade carving

Tip : Hassle-free Guangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Guangzhou:

Guangzhou Half Day Tour  from US$75 p/p
Guangzhou Highlight Day Tour    from US$80  p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou
How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day
Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruises
How to Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Guangzhou
How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou

Any questions,  just drop a line.

How to Visit Guangxiao Temple Guangzhou

Monday, March 31st, 2014
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Plan your Guangzhou tour? Guangxiao Temple is a big draw in Guangzhou. “Guangxiao”literally means “Bright Filial Piety”.    It is an oldest buddhist monastery in Guangdong Province.  It was originally the mansion of  Prince Zhao Jiande, the grandson of Zhao Tuo – the king of the Nanyue Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D.24).

In the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) it became the Yu Fan’s teaching academy. Yu Fan came here in exile. Yu Fan was an official as well as a scholar. When he died, his family donated Yu Fan’s house (academy) for the temple, called “Zhi Zhi Temple”.

The Mahavira Hall was built in the temple compound during a well-known Indian monk’s stay at the temple in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420).  In Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD),  the temple was renamed as “Baoen Guangxiao Temple. In Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), it was changed to the present named “Guangxiao Temple”. So the temple has a history of over 17,00 years.

In addition to the famed Mahavira Hall, there are many historical relics and old buildlings. Yifa Pagoda enshrines the hair of the enfluential monk known as Huineng of  Zen Buddhist sect in 7th century.  There are Samgharama Hall, the King of Heaven Hall, and two iron towers, Drum Tower, Bell Tower,  Sixth Ancester Hall, The Zen Hall.

How to get there
It is easily accessed by subway. You may take subway line 1 and get off at Ximenkou Station (西门口), exit  and walk north along Guangxiao Road. At the northern end of Guangziao Road is Guangxiao Temple.  Most probally you will be pestered by beggars and fake monks. Just ignore them otherwise you will be surrounded by them and hard to go away.
Entrance fee: RMB 5
Opening hours: 6:00 – 17:30

Follow me to have a glimpse of Guangxiao Temple.

Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate

Guangxiao Temple's mountain gate

Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate

Behind Guangxiao Temple’s mountain gate is the Hall of Heavenly Kings

the Hall of Heavenly Kings

the Hall of Heavenly Kings

Also behind the Hall of Heavenly King is the largest building in the temple – Mahavira Hall.  Between the Heavenly King Hall and Mahavira Hall is a compound people come here for praying and doing religious rituals.

Mahavira Hall

Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The front gate to Mahavira Hall

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

The Drum Tower(Qielan Hall)

People are doing religious rituals

Ritual

Ritual

 

pious hiddhist followers

pious hiddhist followers

 

Happy hiddhist followers?

Happy hiddhist followers?