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Useful Information | Scenic Spots over the Pearl River | The Pearl River Evening Cruise | Haizhu Square | Guangzhou Ocean World | Shamian Scenic Spot | Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall | Tianhe Sports Center | Yuexiu Hill |

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Scenic Spots over the Pearl River

The Pearl River is where Guangzhous scenic spots are. Praises to the beauty of the Pearl River have been Red Heart of the Pearl Sea and Night Moon over the Goose Pool, selected in 1962 as of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou, plus the Sunlight Reflection at Shimen of the old Eight Sights of Guangzhou and the recently selected Clear Waves of the Pearl River of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou.

The third largest river in China, the Pearl River measures 2,129 meters in length, with its name deriving from the Haizhu Rock (Sea Pearl Rock). When the thousand-meter long Pearl River went through Guangzhou City, a huge rock island in the center of the river was scoured time and again and became smooth and bright like a pearl, called Sea Pearl Rock, hence the name Pearl River for the river with this rock. There is another legend about the naming of the Pearl River. It was said that a Persian businessman stole the valueless pearl of his country and came to auction it in Guangzhou. Since it was the treasure of the nation, the Persian State sent people carrying lots of money to Guangzhou and buy the pearl. When they took out the pearl for appreciation on their way back by ship, the precious pearl flew up suddenly and fell into the river. Later the pearl changed into a huge stone, shinning. People called it Sea Pearl Island, thus the name of the Pearl River.

In fact, the Pearl River is the general name for the river systems of the West River, the North River , the East River and Liuxi River. The West River originates from the Yun(nan)Gui(zhou) Plateau, and the North River and East River from Jiangxi Province, whereas Liuxi River is from the Qixing Ridge at Conghua City. The four rivers joint together in Guangzhou and flow to the South China Sea. As a rule, the Pearl River is called to mean the section of the river traversing Guangzhou proper. As the Pearl River was so wide 2,000 years ago, up to 2,000 meters, so it was also called the Pearl Sea. Later the river narrowed down to 900 meters wide during the Song Dynasty, and it is only 180 meters wide now. 

There are 10 bridges over the Pearl River: Renmin, Haizhu, Haiyin, Luoxi, Zhujiang, Guangzhou, and the newly-built Jiefang, Jiangwan, Huanan, Hedong, plus Zhujiang Tunnel, all of which connecting the south and north banks of the Pearl River and Fangcun District. There stand on both banks numerous star-grade hotels and commercial buildings: White Swan Hotel, Hotel Landmark Canton, Nanfang Mansion, Aiqun Hotel, Guangzhou Hotel, Gitic Riverside Hotel , all like sky-scrappers. In the evening, both banks are lit brightly, joined occasionally by the bright moon hanging in the sky. Full of passengers, pleasure boats for Pearl River cruise travel from the west to the east elegantly on the river, like playing happy melodies all together. 

The Pearl River Evening Cruise

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 can be compared with that of Hong Kongs Victorian Harbor. The section of the river starting from the White Goose Pool to Guangzhou Bridge in the east and Baihedong in the south is the one for the Pearl River evening cruise, as the scenery of the Pearl River in this section is so fascinating, with jade-green water and beautiful lights, that it seems the long Pearl River is inlaid with seven-colored pearls, which forms a colorful rainbow of the Pearl River.

On the way, one can appreciate such beautiful scenes of Guangzhou as Night Moon over the Goose Pool, Misty Rain over the Twin Bridge, Red Heart of the Pearl River, Autumn Moon over the Pearl River, Clear Waves on the Pearl River, etc. What is more, detailed introductions to the 30-odd historical and cultural sites are given via speakers so to enable you to taste to your hearts content the local conditions and customs of the south. The whole cruise takes around two hours.

Haizhu Square

It is a square for plants and traffic close by the Pearl River, ranging from the north of Haizhu Bridge, Taikang Road, to south of Yide Road, west of Qiaoguang Road and east of Yiyuan. It got its name because of its location near the well-known Haizhu Bridge as well as the historical Haizhu Rock in the Pearl River. It used to be a vegetable and fruit market outside the Guangzhou city in the Qing Dynasty, called vegetable stalls and fruit stalls. It gradually became a dwelling area from the 1930s but was bombarded into ruins by the Japanese invaders in 1938.

The western wing of the square was built in 1951 and given its present name. To continue, the eastern wing was built up later on in 1954, with an area of 35,000 sq. meters. A commemorative statue for Guangzhou Liberation was erected in October 1959 in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Guangzhou Liberation. It was selected in 1963 as one of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou, namely Red Heart of the Pearl Sea. The square is naturally laid out, covered with green grass, a pleasant scene. Banyan trees, kapok, flamboyant trees, Chinese redbud and palm trees are planted over the square, where one may appreciate the scenery on the Pearl River. 

Guangzhou Ocean World

Newly embraced in Guangzhou Zoo is a new exhibition hall with peculiar looks -- Guangzhou Ocean World, which truthfully reappears the mysterious, changeable and splendid ocean world. It has been in high repute ever since its inauguration, attracting batches of visitors from home and abroad. 

A large-scale and multi-functional scientific and technological exhibition hall that mixes together entertainment, appreciation, scientific research and education, Guangzhou Ocean World covers an area of about 13,000 sq. meters, with a total investment of US$ 50 million. It has been named Guangdong Educational Base for Popular Marine Science by the Science and Technology Association of Guangdong Province. 

Guangzhou Ocean World is divided into several areas to reveal the submarine world in all directions, including Ocean Square, Relief Square, Submarine Tunnel, Deep Sea Scenery, Seaweed Pillar, Treasure Window, Fresh Water World, Rocky Seashore, Touch Pool, Sea Turtle Pool, Shark Hall, Hall of Popular Marine Science, Ocean Theatre, Sealion Amusement Park, etc. All these exhibition areas have distinctive specialties, vivid and true to life.

As Guangzhou is not close by the sea, designers adopted complete sets of imported equipment for life maintenance as well as the state-of-the-art technology for manmade seawater in order to enable the living creatures from the depth of the sea to settle down at Guangzhou Ocean World. It is these advanced equipment that make peoples dream of ocean on the land come true.

Shamian Scenic Spot

Located on the north bank of the Pearl Rivers White Goose Pool, Shamian is an oval islet, covering a tiny area of 0.3 sq. meters. Thanks to the many buildings of Western classicism on the island, it has recently been designated as a key protected relic of the state, and is called the Ninth Sight of Guangzhou. Shamian used to be an alluvion made by the Pearl River, called Zhongliusha and Shicuizhou in the early stage.

It had been a tourist attraction as well as an important port for Guangzhous foreign trade from Song Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. It became a strategic point for city defense during the opium war period, after which the Qing Administration was forced to agree to lease Shamian to the British and French imperialist powers, thus Shamian was reduced to the British and French concessions and changed to the present name. When digging the waterway during 1859 to 1862, Shamian was separated from the north bank of the Pearl River and a stone bridge was built only in the east to connect the north bank. Now Shamian embraces eight major roads and streets, of which three are from east to west: Shamian North Street, Shamian Street and Shamian South Street, and five from south to north: Shamian No. 1 to 5 Streets. And in the east, north and west there are respectively East Bridge, West Bridge and New West Bridge to connect Liuersan Road.

The island boasts many trees and pleasant environment, together with such buildings, organizations, sports and entertainment facilities as the Victory Hotel, Shamian Hotel, White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou International Seamens Club, the Polish Consulate-General in Guangzhou, the Representation of the Export and Import Corporations of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Guangzhou Office of China-Poland Shipping Ltd., Shamian Tennis Court, Shamian Swimming Pool and so on. 

What is worth mentioning on Shamian is its restricted planning area, namely the area protected by the state as key historical relics, including the architectural complex built during the concession period in Shamians modern times. The area became concession in 1859, and afterwards the British, French, American, German, Japanese, Italian, Netherlands and Portuguese set up consulates, banks and trade offices, one after another. The Kuomintang (KMT) government took over Shamian after winning the Anti-Japanese War in 1945. Quite a few of the old buildings are of Western classic layout.

When visiting Shamian in 1959, late Premiere Zhou Enlai gave directives to carefully handng looks of these buildings, taking them as historical witness to the semi-colonial place, and possibly opening up to visitors as a tourist spot.Attractions on Shamian and nearby also include: Renmin Bridge, Jiefang Bridge, Nanfang Mansion, Night Moon over the Goose Pool (one of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou), the Swan Club, Pedestrian Street for Business and Trade at Xiguan, Qingpin Market, Huangsha Metro Station, the Pearl River Tunnel, etc.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, a key historical relic protected by Guangdong Province, is a memorial building built with the funds raised by the Guangzhou people and overseas Chinese in memory of Sun Yat-sen, the great revolutionary forerunner. Located in the original site of the then Sun Yat-sens Presidential Office, it was designed by Mr. Lu Yanzhi, the great architect of the country. Construction work started in 1929 and finished in 1931. 

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a gorgeous octagonal structure, with solemn and magnificent looks, and strong national features. The designer smartly applied the structural theory of architectural mechanics and adopted the mixed structure of reinforced concrete. The construction space with the span of up to 71 meters is pillar-less, much to its grandeur. The memorial hall and the courtyard cover a land area of six hectares. The principal building occupies an area of 12,000 sq. meters, and 47 meters high. The stage measures 15 meters at the front and 20 meters in depth, together with 3,238 seats. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is the most symbolized building of Guangzhou, and a key venue for the citys large-scale meetings and performances as well. 

Shortly before Liberation, the memorial hall was severely damaged as it had long been out of repair. After Liberation, the peoples government had all its facilities repaired and improved for seven times from the 50s to 1988. 1998 saw 60 million yuan allocated for the comprehensive overhaul of the memorial hall, replacing the central air-conditioning system, lights, acoustic equipment, seats, remodeling the VIP room, makeup rooms and the stage, adding fire-spray system and security controlling system. The statue of Sun Yat-sen in front of the hall was cast with bronze for a change. The square and the surroundings have also been further beautified. All these have made this time-honored building shine with vitality and a famous scenic spot loved by visitors from home and abroad.

Tianhe Sports Center

Located in the north side of Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, with an area of 59 sq. meters, it was built on the original site of the discarded Tianhe Airfield, to hold the 6th National Games in Guangzhou in 1987 and called the Sports City of the South. It is a new sports center, comparatively advanced and large in the country. Major buildings are made up of the gymnasium, the stadium and the swimming hall.

The multi-functional gymnasium is a hexagon with construction area of 22,000 sq. meters and 8,600 seats. It houses indoor events like ball matches, gymnastics, acrobatics and large-scale entertainment performances. The stadium is a saddle-shaped design, with construction area of 65,000 sq. meters and a capacity of 60,000 spectators. It is for track and field and football games, installed with a 10?8 m. large color screen. The shape of the swimming hall is succinct, with construction area of 21,000 sq. meters. Its ring corridor may function as an exhibition hall. It was open to the public in September 1987.

Yuexiu Hill

Yuexiu Park is located in the north of Guangzhou proper, around one km southeast to Guangzhou Railway Station. It is the largest park, with an area of up to 920,000 sq. meters. Apart from Yuexiu Hill, it also includes the neighboring six hillocks and three man-made lakes, i.e. Dongxiu Lake, Nanxiu Lake and Beixiu Lake. Yuexiu Hill got its name from the Chaohan Platform built by Zhao Tuo, king of Southern Yue in the Western Han period. It is also called Guanyin Hill, as Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, was found during the Yongle years in the Ming Dynasty. 

Flowers and trees are planted all over Yuexiu Park, such as kapok for earlier spring, azalea for late spring, yulan magnolia for April, golden balsam and morningstar lily for May, hanxiao for autumn and wintersweet for midwinter. Spring flowers display and chrysanthemum show are held respectively in spring and autumn every year. There is a stadium in the park with a capacity of over 30,000 spectators and a swimming hall with a capacity of more than 5,000 spectators, plus other places for sports .

Major attractions include: Yuexiu Tower - the historical Zhenhai Tower, one of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou, the Statue of Five Goats, symbol of the city, Sun Yat-sen Monument, the ancient city wall, the Rectangular Fort, Memorial to the place where Sun Yat-sen once pursued study and administration, etc., coupled with Jinyin Amusement Park, Childrens Playground, Palace of the Monkey King Story, Gardens of Chinese idioms and fables, the White Pigeon Square. The scenery of Dongxiu Lake and Nanxiu Lake is so nice that they are a must for painting from life, whereas Beixiu Lake is good for boating and fishing for the green weeping trees around. 


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