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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...


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The Leshan Giant Buddha (Lèshān Dàfó, 乐山大佛) is situated at the confluence of the Min (Mín Jiāng, 岷江) and Dadu Rivers (Dàdù Hé, 大渡河) and was originally built to protect and watch over passing ships in the night. Haitong, a Chinese monk, began work on the project in 713 and it was not completed until 90 years later. Despite this monk's dedication (he gauged out his own eyes to secure funding) he did not live to see the statue completed. Haitong's work was continued by the monks Zangchou..

The Giant Sleeping Buddha (Jùxíng Shui Fó, 巨型睡佛) of Leshan is an optical feature that requires a re-focuse of both your eyeballs and your third eye. While everyone's attention is on the Leshan Giant Buddha, the one carved out of the cliffside, the Great Sleeping Buddha made up of the very mountains and rivers goes on blissfully snoozing. This spiritual/topographical wonder is formed by three mountains: Wuyou Shan (Wūyóu Shān, 乌尤山), Lingyun Shan (Língyún Shān, 凌云山) and Guicheng Shan (Guīchéng..

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