Top Historical Sights in Guangzhou
Guangzhou, the third-largest city in China and a modern metropolis, has a history nearly as long and storied as China itself. One of the best ways for visitors to gain an understanding of modern Guangzhou is through the lens of its history, which lives on through these must-see historic attractions.
Museum and Mausoleum of the Nanyue King Start at the beginning with a visit to the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. Within its walls, visitors can see evidence of Guangzhou’s ancient past through relics discovered in the tomb of Nanyue ruler Zhao Mo, uncovered in 1983. The artifacts displayed here, including Zhao Mo’s jade burial garment, date back more than 2,000 years.
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, one of Guangzhou’s oldest surviving sites, was originally built in AD 537 as a place to house Buddhist relics brought into China from India. The complex remains an active Zen temple and one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
Shamian Island While the first Europeans—the Portuguese—arrived in Guangzhou in the early 16th century, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Guangzhou opened up as a treaty port and established foreign concessions, on Shamian Island. Today, visitors to the island can stroll the quiet streets and take in the British and French colonial architecture of this popular expatriate enclave.
Chen Clan Academy This complex of 19 traditional structures, built near the end of the 19th century, is to Guangzhou what the Forbidden City is to Beijing. Today it houses the Guangzhou Museum of Folk Art, which not only is an excellent place to learn about Cantonese life in the late 1800s, but offers a glimpse into the region’s art history as well.