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-- Places of Interest & Entertainment
Latest Updated by 2003-09-16 16:09:55

1. With five of them re-elected since 1986, Guangzhou Famous Eight Views of the New Century were selected out of the 30 nominees in 2002 as follows:

  • Mt. Baiyunshan 
  • Mt. Yuexiu
  • The Pearl River 
  • The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
  • Huanghuagang Mausoleum of 72 Martyrs
  • Waterfall Scenery at Dongzhan Square
  • Guangdong Olympic Sports Center
  • Mt. Lianghuashan (Lotus Mountain) in Panyu District

Mt.Baiyunshan is a green treasure to the urban citizens of bustling Guangzhou. Covering an area of 20.98 sq km, Mt.Baiyunshan is one of the most famous mountains in South China, having been regarded as No 1 sight of Guangzhou Municipality since time immemorial. It has selected one of the national scenic spots. Shrouded in the white clouds, its Moxingling Peak is as high as 382 meters above sea level, partially green and partially white in mist, thus the name "Baiyunshan" (meaning in English a mountain shrouded in the white clouds). There are many natural spots as well as historic and cultural relics. Guangzhou citizens have a close attachment to this mountain and often go mountaineering there.

2.Top Historical Cultural Relics

  • The Manorial to Martyrs of Guangzhou Uprising
  • Huanghuagang Mausoleum of 72 Martyrs
  • The Statue of Five Rams & Five-Story Tower (Zhenhailou Tower)
  • Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family (also, Guangdong Folk Arts Museum; The Chen Academy) 
  • Liurong (Six-Banyan) Temple 
  • Huaisheng Mosque (Guangta Tower)
  • Wuxianguan (Five-Immortals) Taoist Temple
  • Guangzhou Sacred Heart Cathedral
  • Temple of South China Sea God (also, Nanhai Polo Temple built in 594 BC)
  • Liwan Museum (including traditional Cantonese houses in Xiguan Area)
  • Monument to Sanyuanli Struggle against the British Invaders (1841)
  • Former Headquarters of Guangzhou Commune
  • Museum of Whampoa (Huangpu) Military Academy (Former Campus)
  • Former Headquarters of ALL China Labor Union
  • Guangzhou Institute of National Peasant Movements
  • Mausoleum of Nanyue King in the Western Han Dynasty (also, Museum of Nanyue King's Mausoleum)
  • Remnants of the Palace and Royal Garden of the Nanyue Kingdom
  • Panyu Ancient Quarry (Mt. Lianhuashan)

Here Chen's Ancestral Temple is specially recommended to readers, which has long been looked upon as the ultimate in Cantonese construction of the past glory. The temple is located on Zhongshan Qilu (7th) with a history of over one hundred years and still in its original shape. The construction began in 1894, sponsored by Chen Xianglin, a founder of the local charity organization, together with Chen Ruinan and Chen Yaonan, who returned from abroad. The buildings are known for their exquisite and mythical decorations, such as the brick carvings of historic figures.

The construction was intended as a family memorial temple for all the Chens in the 27 counties in Guangdong Province. Later it functioned as an academy as well, where students of the Chen clan gathered to study before their going to the capital to take the imperial examination in Beijing. And in the early 20th century, the buildings were used to house various institutions. First, there was the Chen Industrial College and then several other schools were also founded there, including Guangdong Public School and Juxian Middle School. It was also used as a family shrine for the Chens to pay tribute to their ancestors every spring and autumn.

During its past weathered century, the Chen Clan Academy has managed to survive a dozen disasters. During the Anti-Japanese War (1937-1945), for example, it happened that a bomb should be dropped in the shrine, and fortunately, it didn't explode. For a time, the local government made it a garrison. Ignorant soldiers nearly wrecked the relics, destroying the buildings and decorations carelessly. Some more ruthless ones even cut the heads off of the carved figures to sell at the underground market.  

This priceless national treasure had a truly narrow escape during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The Red Guards (young people from the poor peasant and worker backgrounds) put up "Big-Character" posters (dazibao in Chinese) everywhere in the three courtyards of the temple. They then decided to get rid of this feudal legacy by razing the construction to the ground and smashing everything preserved in this temple. At this critical moment, a member of the administration staff of the Chen Clan Academy stood out and appealed to the Red Guards commander to stop the deconstruction, which was unimaginable in those years. As a sad Chinese saying goes, "When a scholar meets a soldier, he can never talk him round, because soldiers are supposed to believe in power only, not any principles." This commander, however, should be convinced that this temple should not be demolished, for it was valuable. He agreed to keep this temple intact and even took it under his wing, forbidding any further misuse of this treasure. So the temple survived, but not the name boards of Chen's ancestors, which were burned by the Red Guards. Because they were considered part of an evil, feudal culture that was forbidden in those mad days. This is a classic example of how a relic survived in China. History will remember forever whoever has protected any priceless national treasures. They are the wise men of this country.

Visitors marveled at the exquisite house decorations and the workmanship of the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family. All the buildings are done with a variety of sculptures of wood, stone and brick relieves modeled in pottery and lime, and frescos and copper-iron castings in various styles. The carving techniques express simplicity and ruggedness, precision and exquisiteness, each setting off the other. For this, the temple also functions as a museum under the auspices of Guangdong Folk Arts Museum, exhibiting a variety of folk arts and crafts, such as Guangdong ceramics, carvings, sculptures and embroideries, all with a long history. Whether its architectural decorations or its exhibits are gems of China are the crystallization of the intelligence, wisdom as well as exquisite artistry of the locals. Those articles are uniquely eye-catching and should be brought to the world and appreciated by more visitors. The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family deserves the name of "A bright pearl of the architecture in Lingnan Region". Visitors are astonished at the perfect skills of the folk artisans. It's hard to believe such delicate crafts being made with simple and unsophisticated tools. Besides, these carvings are delicate and tasteful reflecting the practice of pursuing elaborate and rich decoration, such as Jue Lu Feng Hou (to be promoted and well paid). In addition, some of the contents and forms of expression seem to have been influenced by the foreign cultures, for example, "the image of the little angel". It is one of the examples of the intermingling of the traditional Chinese culture and Western culture. The local artisans absorbed extensively the traditional techniques as well as the Western skills, not confined to the traditional materials and art tradition. They have enriched the Chinese folk arts and handicrafts, placing them further on the international stage of arts.

3. In recent years, there have appeared a dozen modern sightseeing spots in Guangzhou, such as:

  • World Scenic Spectacle
  • Space Flight Spectacle
  • Golden Beach Water Paradise
  • South China (Huanan) Botanic Garden (the largest subtropical garden in Asia)
  • Dongfang (Oriental) Amusement Park
  • Xiangjiang Safari Park & Chime-Long Night Zoo in Panyu
  • The International Eco-Island on Pazhou Island in the middle of the Pearl River (under construction)
  • Guangzhou Ocean World is the largest in Inland China, covering an area of 15 000 sq meters.
  • Pazhou International Exhibition Center 

Evening Cruise on the Pearl River is one of the tourist highlights in the southern city of Guangzhou, and the beauty of the Pearl River scenery can be compared with that of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor. The river tour starts from the Bai'ertan (White Swan Rangoon) to Guangzhou Bridge in the east and Baihedong in the south. The scenery along the river tour line is so fascinating with colorful urban lights and neon ads shimmering in the waves and against the skylines of the high-rises lined on the both sides of the river. On the way, one can appreciate such beautiful scenes of Guangzhou as "Night Moon over the White Swan Rangoon", "Misty Rain over the Twin Bridge", " Red Heart of the Pearl River", "Autumn Moon over the Pearl" and "Clear Waves on the Pearl River". Those poetic names are very Chinese and we hope you can enjoy them. The cruise takes about two hours.

Editor: Catherine

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By:Jin Huikang Source:South CN
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