The heart of Guangzhou's former European concession—France and England both set up shop on this sandy river island in 1859 toward the end of the Opium Wars—Shamian Island (Shāmiàn Dǎo, 沙面岛) is home to a number of colonial-era buildings, including a restored French Catholic church, Our Lady of Lourdes; its British Protestant complement, the Christ Church Shamian; and many former hotels, embassies, trading houses and residences. The island (actually a permanent sand bank in the Pearl River) makes for pleasant strolling..
Also known as the "Chen Clan Temple", the Chen Clan Academy (Chén Jiā Cí, 陈家祠) is a unique complex and a fascinating monument to South China's culture...and to anyone from Guangdong Province with the common surname Chen. Built in the late 19th century with funds gathered from Chens throughout Guangdong, the Chen Clan Academy served as a gathering place, hall of ancestral worship and school. The province's many Chens put a lot of money into their namesake academy, and today the complex's series of..
With post-imperial China carved up among different powerful warlords reigning over independent areas of control, Sun Yat-sen and the young Republic of China government needed more than lofty ideas about national unity and a renewed country. With help from the Soviet Union, the Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy (Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng Lùjūn Jūnguān Xuéxiào, 中国国民党陆军军官学校) was built on Changzhou Island (Chángzhōu Dǎo, 长洲岛), downriver from the city of Guangzhou at that time. Known more..
Guangzhou's largest public park, Yuexiu Park (Yuèxiù Gōngyuán, 越秀公园), features the usual green space but also houses a small city museum, remnants of the old city wall, a statue of the city's five founding rams, the 14th-century Zhenhai Tower (Zhènhǎi Tǎ, 镇海塔) and some manmade lakes. The entrance fee is a steal compared to most of China's city parks, so take advantage and while away a few hours in this touted "ecological and cultural wonderland."