Guangzhou or Canton is also known in China as Yang Cheng, the city of goats. According to an ancient legend, the city suffered after a bad harvest of a fatal famine as 5 immortals were approached on goats and threw 5 rice bundles on the land. The immortals promised the people that they would no longer suffer from any famine and left their 5 goats behind in Guangzhou. Out of gratitude for the salvation of their city, the 5 Goat Memorial was built in 1959 in Yuexiu Park. The Five Goat Monument (Wu Yang Shi Diao 五羊 石雕) is the landmark of Guangzhou.
The Yuexiu Gongyuan is quite big, to find the 5 Rams Monument just click on the orange marker below.
The "Canton Tower" is the highest building in the city at 604 m. From 2009 to 2011 it was even the tallest tower in the world, but counts the Burj Khalifa (828 m / year of construction 2008) as a skyscraper and thus not on the list of the tallest towers. The Canton Tower was officially surpassed by Tokyo Skytree at 634 m. The tower consists of a 462 m high building on which a 142 m high antenna stands. The city of Guangzhou is still called Canton by the English, therefore the Guangzhou ta (chinese name of the tower) is called Canton Tower. The twisted building was designed by the Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit. In 2010, the Canton Tower was opened. It stands directly on the Pearl River (Zhujiang), opposite the new business center of Guangzhou. Directly at the tower base is a subway station. The tower has viewing platforms at various heights, restaurants, cinemas, function rooms and shops.
Dr. Sun Yatsen (Sun Wen, later Sun Zhongshan) was a Guangdong doctor who founded the 1912 National People's Party Guo Min Dang. In China and Taiwan he is called Sun Zhongshan. He received the name in his Japanese exile, where he was called Sho Nakayama. Sun Yatsen became the first president of China after the emperor had to abdicate in 1912. In 1913, Sun Yatsen had to flee from China after his revolt against dictator Yuan Shikai failed. In 1921 he became president of the national government in Guangzhou (Canton). He wrote basic rules for China's political system, such as the Three People's Principles and the Five Yuan Constitution. He also founded the Military Academy where Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) was trained as a general. Sun Yatsen was in control of southern China, while the north was ruled by shattered warlords. His goal was to wage a war against the north to unify the country. Sun Yatsen died in 1925, after which the Guo Min Dang fought with the Chinese Communist Party against the north. After uniting the country by force, Guo Min Dang and the Chinese Communist Party fought for power in the country, leading to civil war. Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with his troops and the Communists have since ruled the mainland. For both parties Dr. Sun Yatsen is the founder of the Republic.
The Dr. Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall was built in 1931 at the location where Dr. Sun Yatsen was proclaimed president of China in 1923.
The Chen family academy Chen Shi Shuyuan is one of Guangzhou's most famous attractions. The Chen clan built the facility from 1890 as an ancestral temple and school for his family members. Only persons with the surname Chen had access at that time. The family academy of the Chens consists of many buildings connected by corridors. The corridors are slightly above the normal floor level and are covered to avoid getting wet. The roofs are ornately decorated with scenes from Chinese history, mythical creatures, plants, animals, immortals and scenes from traditional opera. The ancestral hall and the Chen family academy are now a museum that impresses with its traditional architecture.
The Temple of Six Banyan treesLiu Rong Si is one of the most important Buddhist sanctuaries of Guangzhou. The temple was built in 537 to house Ashes of Buddha. The 9-story Lotus Pagoda was built in 1097 in wood and stone. The pagoda is 57.6 m high and has 17 floors in the interior. At the top of the pagoda is a pillar carved with 1023 Buddha figures and 500 arhats. Therefore, it is also called the 1,000 Buddha Pagoda. It is a prime example of architecture south of the 5 Wuling mountain ranges. In the hall of Mahavira there are three Buddha statues each 6 m high which were cast in bronze in 1663. The hall itself was reconstructed in 1984. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is a bit hidden but once you have found the Liu Rong Lu, the Lotus Pagoda reveals the way.
The temple complex of Guangxiao Si was built on the site where the palace of the Nan Yue King used to be (Nan Yue = Vietnam). The Temple of Glorious Infancy was built during the Han Dynasty (Han dynasty 206 BC to 6 AD). The Buddhist temple has seen many famous teachers. Especially the teachings of Chan Buddhism were spread from here throughout Asia. (Chan Buddhism is called Zen in Japan). During the Cultural Revolution 1966-1976 many buildings were destroyed. Most of the buildings of Guangxiao Temple were built in 1980 when the temple was rebuilt by Buddhist monks. However, the small stone pagodas are quite old, one was built in 676 AD.