EXTRA: A Walk in Old Guangzhou (Guangdong)

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on January 14, 2013.)

Click to see larger map
[Note: As I post this piece in April, 2014, I have heavily revised it to include references to the map and to add links to other articles. I have also slightly changed the route from the original.]

March 12, 2011 - On a blustery March day, my wife and I saw some wonderful features of "Old Guangzhou" as we walked from one temple to the next. Here are some notes.

[Follow the red line from Gongyuan Qian Station [3] to Liurong Temple [1] and Guangxiao Temple [2], written about previously. This walk is about 2.5 kilometers.]

[Follow the blue line from the station for the rest of the walk, about four kilometers if you take the train, five if you walk all the way to the Chen Clan Academy.]

After visiting Liurong and Guangxiao, we walked back past Gongyuan Qian Station [3] and turned right on tiny Jiaoyu Road. This took us past the Yaozhou Relic Site [4], once an islet in an artificial lake where alchemists worked on immortality formulas for Southern Han emperor Liu Yan (reigned 917-942). The lake was filled in during the Ming Dynasty, and a small garden with a pond stands on the site today.

Passing through Dafo Temple [5], we walked west on Huifu Road for over two kilometers, passing a small building labeled "Qingyun Shuyuan" [6], a kind of academy first built in the early Qing Dynasty.

Then we reached the much bigger Five Immortals Temple [7], a place of great significance in Guangzhou's legendary history. As the story goes, around 9 BCE five immortals riding goats came down and gave grain to the Cantonese people. They also left their footprints on the ground, which can still be seen in the temple's gardens.

[Instead of walking all the way to Kangwang Road, which would take you a bit far north, turn left on Haizhu Middle Road, then right on Dade Road, which leads into Shangjiu Road, a pedestrian street with plenty of shopping and restaurants. Turn right on Kangweng, the main intersection of the mall, to reach the next destination.]

Reaching Kangwang South Road, we turned left to another small building, the Jinlun Guild Hall [8] which stands just east of Hualin Temple. Formerly located about 80 meters south, it was relocated in 2001, and remains "the only well preserved silk guild hall."

After visiting Hualin Temple [9], we took a train from nearby Changshou Lu Station [10] to Chen Clan Academy [11], a late-Qing institution now housing the Guangdong Folk Craftwork Museum. [You could also walk this, west on Changshou, north on Wenchang, then jog left and right to Zhongshan 7th Road. The Chen Academy is just to the east.]

[Instead, from Hualin Temple one could head south down Kangwang Road about 1.5 kilometers to Shamian Island, where there are old beautiful buildings from the days of the French and British concessions of the 19th century.]

[One could see lots more--Haizhuang Temple, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Yuexiu Park, and more--by well-planned use of the Guangzhou Metro.]

There's still lots to see in Old Guangzhou!

GPS Info:

Click on the linked name to see the location in Google Maps. [Numbers] indicate the labels on the map above.


For images of the Buddhist temples named, see these articles:

Statue of the Five Immortals, Five Immortals Temple, Guangzhou
The Main Hall at Five Immortals Temple
Rice for offerings at Five Immortals Temple
Front of Jinlun Guild Hall, Guangzhou
Relief in the walls of the Chen Clan Academy, Guangzhou

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