Sub-tropically maritime in climate, Xiamen is warm with flowers blossoming year-roung.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Located in the southern part of Fujian Province and on the west coast of the Taiwan Straits, Xiamen is a traditional trading port in Southeast China and a famous tourist coastal city far and wide.
Embracing the beauty of hills, sea, rocks, caves, temples, gardens, flowers and plants, the city has a unique charm of her own with an exotic atmosphere.
Legend has it that Xiamen Island used to be the nestling place of the egrets from which came the names of “Egret Island.” Today, it has become a Special Economic Zone in China.
It encompasses 1,565 square kilometers and has a population of 1.3 million. As one of the earliest special economic zones in China, Xiamen is empowered with both provincial-level authority in economic administration and local legislative power. Since the special economic zone was established in Xiamen, the city’s economy has experienced a sustained, rapid and coordinated growth. The city has been accredited as a National Sanitary City, National Garden City, and National Model City for Environmental Protection, and National Excellent Tourist City.
Xiamen Port is one of China’s top 10 ports. It boasts 80 berths of various sizes. There are navigation routes from Xiamen to about 60 ports in more than 40 countries and regions. With 62 air routes, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport is a main air hub in East China. A well-developed system of railway and highway transportation links the city with the rest of China. The city has established economic and trade relations with 162 countries and regions worldwide.
In the past, Xiamen boasted 24 points of interest, including the “eight big scenes,” “eight small scenes” and scenes outside scenes. At present, four tourist areas, such as Gulangyu, Southern Putuo, Wanshi Hill and Jimei, and a sightseeing route on the sea have taken shape.
Gulangyu (Isle of Blown Waves) 鼓浪屿
Reputed as the “Garden on the Sea,” Gulangyu (encompassing 1.84 square kilometers and with a population of 20,000) is separated from Xiamen only by a river (over 700 meters wide ), the Lu (Egret ) River. A 10-minute ferry off the southwest side of Xiamen, the Isle was the centre for foreign communities who settled here after Britain made Xiamen and the isle one of its Treaty Ports under the unequal 1842 Treaty of Nanking (now Nanjing ). Many built Western-style mansions, churches, warehouses and government buildings, which still exist. Gulangyu is truly a charming resort of meandering Lanes and shaded back streets. Palatial colonial mansions and villas linked by winding shady lanes enrich its low hills. Tangy, cool breezes and sea views beckon. 92.6-meter-high Sunlight Rock dominates the isle. On top of it is a statue of Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga), a national hero for recovering the island of Taiwan from Dutch colonists in 1661.There is also a memorial hall documenting his career. The visitor can have a bird’s eye view of the surrounding blue sea, the golden beach, the building of diversified architectural styles and a riotous profusion of flowers and plants. Gulangyu is also known as an “Island of Music” free from the hubbub of busy streets. Most imposing of all of those remains of colonial architecture on Gulangyu is the Xiamen Museum atop a low hill. The neo-classical structure has a red dome and cavernous corridors that echo one’s every step. It houses more than 1,000 exhibits, including porcelain and jade collections. From the museum, the isle appears to be a sea of green trees and red-tiled roof. Houses and streets cling in tiers to the side of the hill. Wandering around the isle, which is free from motor vehicles and bicycles, and the tourist can hear the melodic sounds of a piano from some quiet corner behind the trees, which can revive the memory about the “Isle of Piano.”
On the isle visitors can find such scenic attractions as the ruins of Zheng Chenggong’s barracks, and the platform on which he reviewed his navy at the Dragon’s Head Hill, Zheng Chenggong Museum, Shuzhuang Garden, Yu Garden---in memory of Dr Lin Qiaozhi (1901-1983; a well known gynaecologist), the tourist village at the Sea-Viewing Garden, Yanping Park, natural seaside resorts such as Gongzaihou and Dadeji beaches, the Bright-Moon Garden—in memory of Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662) and the Overseas Chinese Subtropic Botanic Garden.
Foreign Pianos Are Shown on the Island 外国钢琴展
China’s first piano museum opened on Gulangyu, on December 22, 2001, an island of Xiamen in East China’s Fujian Province. The museum displays 70 famous-brand pianos from the Unites States, Britain, France, Austria and Australia. They are all over 100 years old. Hu Youyi 胡友义, born in Gulangyu, collected the pianos, and now lives in Australia. According to an agreement between Hu Youyi and the Gulangyu district government, the pianos will be on display at the museum for 10 years and will then be donated to the local government. Gulangyu had been dubbed “Piano Island” because its 20,000 permanent residents own 620 pianos.
The Ancient Fort at Huli Hill 胡里山炮台
Construction of the ancient fort at the Huli Hill in the Southern Putuo tourist area started in 1891. It is of significance in resisting foreign aggression in modern history. Manufactured by German Krupp arsenal in 1881, the 280-millimeter gun is 12.9 meters in length, 60 tons in weight with a range of 6,400 meters. It is the most outstanding ancient gun still in existence.
Jimei is a famous university town—an epitome of the educational set-up of modern China. It is here that are located the former residence of Mr Chen Jiageng (1874-1961), a celebrated patriotic overseas Chinese, an exhibition hall displaying his life story, Guilai hall, the all-embracing South Fujian Stone Carving Museum—Aoyuan Garden, the unique south Fujian building groups, and also Dragon Boat Pond, the former Yanping fortress and the shopping street. Visitors will feel contented to buy some handicrafts articles and fashionable dresses s/he likes after the visit.
Southern Putuo Temple 南普陀寺
Southern Putuo Temple was established in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and was originally named Sizhou Temple 泗洲院and then renamed Puzhao Temple普照寺in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). At present, the Puzhao Hall in the Temple still bears that name. The Temple was damaged twice during wars. In 1684, Shi Lang 施琅(1621-1696), a general of the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911) rebuilt the Temple and changed the name to “Nanputuo” (meaning “Southern Putuo”), because it is situated to the South of Putuo Mountain, a sacred Buddhist mountain in Zhejiang Province. When tourists step into the temple, they will go through the Hall of Heavenly Kings, where the statues of four ferocious Heavenly Kings are placed. In the centre of the hall is a statue of Maitreya, a Bodhisattva as represented by a very stout monk with a broad smile, bare chest and exposed paunch. Behind the Maitreya, there is Bodhisattva Weituo, who points his sword to the ground, indicating that this Temple accommodates all traveling monks.
The main buildings of Nanputuo Temple are arranged on a central axis. After the Hall of Heavenly Kings, tourists go through the Precious Hall of Great Hero 大雄宝殿， the Hall of Great Mercy大悲殿and the Buddhist Scripture Garret藏经楼up along the mountainside. At the center of the Temple lies the Precious Hall of Great Hero, consecrated to the Buddhas of three lifetimes and the three western saints. The hall is also the place for the monks to do their daily morning and evening chanting. For thousands of years, chanting has been a key practice of Buddhist followers to purify their minds. The Hall of Great Mercy is another main building in the temple, consecrated to Guanyin Avalokitesvara. Standing on stone platform 30 steps high, the octagonal building has a three-layer roof supported by brackets without using nails or beams. The local people call this complex bracketing system “spider weaving cobweb.” The hall is particularly prosperous because many Buddhist converts from South Fujian believe in Guanyin Avalokitesvara. The Buddhist Scriptures Garret is located at the highest of the axis of the main buildings. Its first floor serves as the “Worshipping Hall,” and the second floor holds a large number of Buddhist scriptures.
On both sides of the axis are newly-built structures. To the left of the axis are the Buddhist Institute of South Fujian, Abbot’s Building, Meditation Hall and the dormitory of the monks. To the right are the Buddhist Prayer Hall, Haihui Hall and Puzhao Hall. The last two buildings are where the famous vegetarian food of Nanputuo Temple is served. Not only does the food offer a uniquely light and fresh taste, but the names of the dishes treat diners to poetic associations, like “Half Moon in the River,” “Silk Rain and Lonely Cloud,” and “Pearl of the South Sea.”
The buildings of Nanputuo are spread over a mountainside of complicated topography, and are different in forms to suit various functions. However, all the buildings are marked with multi-layered roofs decorated with yellow glazed tiles and carvings of animals, which are in accordance with traditional South Fujian architecture. In addition, local granite is largely used in columins, beams, arcs, rails and pathways, among other things. Together these buildings create a generally solemn and magnificent atmosphere. The area above the Buddhist Scrptures Garret is made up of Mainly commemorative places, which reflect the history of Nanputuo. Example of these is the Pagoda of Monk Zhuan Feng built in the memory of a monk who reformed the temple’s original hereditary sectarian system of abbot selection in 1924. From that time on, Nanputuo Temple adopted a democratic election system for the position. The Tai Xu Pavilion reminds one of Master Tai Xu, who was abbot of Nanputuo from 1927 to 1932, during which time he rectified the discipline of the Buddhism Institute of South Fujian and took charge of the reconstruction of the Hall of Great Mercy. Another story is about Hong Yi (1880-1942), who is one of the most celebrated monks who used to live in the temple. Originally named Li Shutong, Hong Yi was once a versatile artist who made outstanding achievements in drama, music, poetry, painting and calligraphy. After he became a monk at the age of 39, he also contributed a number of important Buddhist works. Today the Temple still keeps some of Hong Yi’s manuscripts. When visitors reach the Tai Xu Pavilion, they face the sea on the one side and mountain on the other side. What a charming place it is!
Wanshi Hill 万石山
Situated in the Wanshi Hill tourist area, Xiamen Botanical Garden is called by experts as a “green museum” rarely Seen in China. When touring the garden, visitors can not only probe into the secret of nature, but also witness exotic flowers and rare plants of varied species.
More About The Fujian Province
- Fuzhou Introduction
Fuzhou is an ancient city with a history of more than 2,100 years.
The and Their Earthen Buildings.
- Mazu Culture
Over 4.000 Mazu temples are found all over the world.
- Mount Wuyi
National Tourism Resort.
The Kaiyuan Temple in .
- Xiamen Introduction
Sub-tropically maritime in climate, Xiamen is warm with flowers blossoming year-roung.