Known as the City of Flowers, Guangzhou enjoys mild weather all the year round.
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Lying to the South China Sea, Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River Delta at 113°17′longitude E. and 23°8′latitude N. and neighbours Hong Kong and Mabao. The city is the capital of Guangdong Province and has a history of more than 2,200 years. The city is the center of Lingnan Culture, the communication hub as well as the largest trade port in South China. As early as the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), there had been exchanges between “Baiyue people”in Guangdong and the people of the Chu State. Known as the City of Flowers, Guangzhou enjoys mild weather all the year round. The average annual temperature in Guangzhou is about 22.6 degrees centigrade. The city governs 12 districts, encompassing 7,424 square kilometers, with a population of 6.85 million.
Guangzhou’s famous nickname—“Yangcheng(meaning ram city) and “Suicheng”(ear city)—come from a delightful legend. It is said that around the 10th century BC, five immortals riding five rams with rice stalks in their mouths, flew to Guangzhou. These immortals gave the rice to peasants and prayed that there would be bumper harvests. The immortals flew away and left the five rams behind, now turned into stones.
The city has comprehensive transportation network, which covers railways, highways, and water and air transportation, connecting the city with the rest of China and the world.
According to historians, the cultures of China’s hinterland and of the Western societies all first emerged in Guangzhou and the city manages to maintain its own unique traditional culture despite the rapid move towards modernization.
Dominating the Sea Tower 镇海楼
The tower stands on the Yuexiu Hill in the northern part of Guangzhou. Built in the early Ming Dynasty, it is a famous ancient building in the city. It is said that Zhu Liangzu朱亮祖(?-1380), Prince Yongjia永嘉候, to show off his merits in dominating the sea in the south, constructed the tower, hence the name. The tower has 5 storeys with 28 meters in height. Therefore it is also known as the five-storey Tower. If you climb onto the top floor, you will find yourself above the tree line, and unfurling below you, a marvelous view of the city. In the old days, this tower once served as an entertainment and recreation resort for the feudal officials, warlords, rich and powerful people. Originally it was a building of wood and brick structure. During the renovation in 1928, its wooden floors were replaced into reinforced concrete ones with its contour unchanged. After the Japanese aggressors occupied Guangzhou in 1938, the tower was used as the Japanese military forbidden area and was much dilapidated. After 1949, it has been repaired several times and listed as one of the historic sites under the preservation by the Chinese Government. Nowadays it houses the Guangzhou Museum, in which exhibits fall into two parts:
Part One displays the long history and civilization of Guangzhou. On show in chronological order ranging from the Neolithic Age to the later period of the Qing Dynasty are archaeological findings, pictures and historical documents, giving an outline of the historical development of the city—the first trading port of China, and reflecting her people’s struggles against feudalism and their contributions to developing production, culture and science in different historical periods.
Part Two deals with revolutionary relics, photos and documents concerning the Opium War (1840-1842), the 1911 Revolution and the May 4th Movement (1919), which show the revolutionary Tradition of the heroic city and her people’s unremitting struggle against imperialism and feudalism in modern history of China.
Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 中山纪念堂
Construction of the memorial hall started in January 1929 and it was completed in October 1931. The overseas Chinese and the citizens of Guangzhou built it on the donations, in memory of Dr Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) the forerunner of the Chinese revolution. This was the original place where the governor’s house of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces of the Qing Dynasty were seated, and used as the presidential house in which Dr Sun Yat-sen held the office of provisional president in 1921. Lu Yanzhi吕彦直 (1894-1929), a famous young Chinese architect, designed the memorial hall. The hall is an octagonal palace-like building with a strong Chinese flavour and magnificent appearance. The entire building was built of steel and reinforced concrete. Owing to the skillful application of mechanical and acoustic theory, this splendid building has only four columns on each side to support its four big arch-shaped steel trusses. These trusses in turn hold the other eight main trusses, thus forming a huge octagon at the top of the central hall. Due to the large span of the trusses, a great hall is formed with neither echo nor pillars to obstruct the spectators ’view.
The memorial hall encompasses 61,000 square meters, its floor space being 12,000 square meters. It is 49 meters tall from the ground level to the summit and 22 meters high from the inside ground floor to the top arch. With a diameter of 15 meters, the hall is 71 meters wide each side. The opera stage inside the hall is 19 meters wide and 15 meters long. With two storeys, the hall has a seating capacity of 4,792.
Since 1949, the people’s government has allocated special funds for renovating the building several times. Erected in front of the hall is Dr Sun Yat-sen’s bronze statue cast in 1958. It not only looks grander and more dignified, but also more solemn and respectable than the original one, which was only two meters high. During the extensive renovation in 1963, the roof of the hall was rebuilt of blur glazed-tiles specially made in Shiwan town near Foshan. Around the hall, a garden was built with trees and flowers planted in it, thus making the hall more magnificent and attractive. In 1975, the hall was furnished with sofa seats, air-conditioning facilities and comfortable lounges for distinguished guests. At the same time, the opera stage and dressing rooms for performers were also improved to meet the needs of grand performances. Nowadays, the hall has become the most popular venue for important conferences and cultural entertainments and the like.
Guangzhou Olympic Stadium 广州奥林匹克体育场
The 80,000-seat Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, designed by a US company, is the largest in Asia and occupies 3000,000 square meters with an investment of 1.2 billion yuan (US$ 145 million). The stadium was built in 2001 for the opening ceremony of the China’s Ninth National Games held from November 10 to 25th .A combination of summer Olympic disciplines, winter sports and the Chinese wushu, or better known as gongfu in the western world, the Ninth National Games boasted 30 sports and 345 events which 358 gold medals were available. One hundred twenty-two stadiums and gymnasiums were provided for the games. The games drew 20,000 athletes, coaches, umpires and referees, officials and working staff. For the first time in the games’ history, broadcasting rights were sold instead of being distributed to central or provincial television stations. Thirty television stations, including China Central Television and two from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, had paid and thus were allowed to go “inside.”
The Site of the Whampoa Military Academy 黄埔军校遗址
A famous academy run by the Kuomintang in 1924 is going to become a tourist attraction featuring military culture. The Huangpu District of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, is going to build a military culture garden around the site of the Whampoa (Huangpu) Military Academy, which will be completed by 2006. Founded by Dr Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), leader of the 1911 Revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and founder of the Kuomintang, the academy was used to train thousands of fooicers in its short history, many of whom later became noted generals and marshals. The academy also witnessed the first co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China (CPC), with Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) acting as academy president and Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), a famous Communist who was later to become the premier of the People’s Republic of China, as its political director. When the two parties jointly launched the Northern Expedition in 1926 to end warlords’ control of North China and reunify the country. The Kuomintang and CPC cadets from the academy were recognized as the backbone of the expedition forces. Nowadays, there are still Whampoa alumni associations on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. According to the plan, a Hall of Fame will be built on the site of the original Dr Sun YAat-sen Memorial Hall in the academy compound. The visitor will be able to view displays on the life of Dr Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Zhou Enlai, and other famed academy leaders and learn previously untold anecdotes about them. Waxworks, paintings, sculptures and a multimedia and video exhibition platform are also going to be featured in the main showroom, which used to be the cadets club. It will be used to brief visitors on a number of famous battles involving Whampoa students. The academy’s old naval wharf by the Pearl River will also be put into use again, as out-of-service warships will be opened to visitors to give them an insight into military life.
Yuexiu Park 岳秀公园
Situated at the Yuexiu Hill in the northern part of Guangzhou, the Yue Xiu Park is the largest one in Guangzhou encompassing 92.8 hectares. Before 1949, it was a place of bleak hills for cemetery and a haunt for gangsters. After 1949, the people’s government mobilized the local people to plant trees and afforest the hills, and built a stadium, swimming center, an amusement center, an art gallery, a flower exhibition, hall and other cultural and recreational grounds while protecting and renovating the original historical relics. Inside the park there are the “Dominating Sea Tower,” “the Seaman’s Pavilion,” “Dr Sun Yat-sen’s Monument,” “the Five-Goat Statue” and other tourist attractions. In addition, there are three artificial lakes in the park. The Dongxiu Lake has an exquisite setting , an excellent site for painting and scenery viewing. The Nanxiu Lake is both tranquil and scenery viewing. The Nanxiu Lake is both tranquil and alluring, an ideal place for angling. The Beixiu Lake consists of three smaller lakes spanned by stone arch-bridges with small islets built in the middle of the lake to contrast with the pavilions by the lakeside, thus making the whole picture all the more fascinating. Tourists can rent boats for rowing around and enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery. More than one million trees have been planted over the Yuexiu Hill including cypresses, pines, kapoks, magnolias and some other 600 varieties of trees. Also Seen in the park are many nurseries for cultivating cassias, roses, peonies, and other flowers. The park also puts on chrysanthemum shows and flower exhibitions every spring and autumn.
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