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Guangzhou( Canton)

With a population of three million, Guangzhou is the major port of entry to China and the largest metropolis in the whole of south China. Situated in the fertile Zhujiang (Pearl Rive-Delta, the city is bisected by the river which flows from west to east. Guangzhou is also called the‘‘City of Rams”. In legendary times five gods descended from heaven coming to this area near the mouth of the Zhuiiang River Mounted on rams of different colors each of which had an ear of rice in its mouth, the gods handed the ears of rice to a local official instructing him to distribute them to the people“May you forever be free from famine,” they cried, and vanished The five rams turned into stone and stand today ln Yuexiu Park. Guangzhou i s a city of flowers The newly built road and boulevards are fined with unending rows of gardenia intoxicating Passers-by with their beauty. Flowers in season decorate balconies, windowsills and the front and back of every house hold. Flower shops and flower stalls are found all along the City’s main streets. Flower exhibitions ale frequently featured in public parks but none can compare with the annual Spring Flower Fair. The fair was originally an ordinary flower market some one hundred and fifty years ago. Nearby farmers brought fresh flowers in season to sell in the city. Guangzhou was then a center for the export of tea and increasingly larger quantities of dried flowers were processed here to scent the teas. Most of the flowers used for this purpose were grown in the suburbs around the city, thus commercial flower growing became an industry. With the approach of the Lunar New Year, the most important and traditional Chinese festival, the people began to decorate their homes with flowers and the flower fair was held.

Today, the fair is spread over four sites in the four districts of the city. Lasting for three days it reaches its peak just before the close, the eve of the Lunar New Year. Families attend the fair after the traditional dinner. Light-hearted chatter and the bantering calling out of prices, the blaze of multi-colored lights, all are a part of the festive merriment lasting far into the night. There are many famous scenic spots in Guangzhou and its surrounding counties: Yuexiu Park in the city proper, the Seven- Star Rocks 118 kilometers to the west of the city, and Conghua Hot Springs 81 kilometers to the north.

Yuexiu Park in the northern sector of the city is extremely popular; abounding with evergreen trees, flowering plants and bamboo groves; interspersed with pavilions, towers, lakes and covered promenades, Zhenhai (Conquering the Sea) Tower was built in 1380 as a symbol of the power of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). High on a hill it stood as a warning to potential invaders from the sea. Today, the tower is the home of the Guangzhou Museum. Guangzhou was a center of early revolutionary efforts in interested in this period of Chinese history.

At the mouth of the Zhuiiang River just south of Guangzbou, Humen Village was once a fortress guarding the entrance to Guangzhou. It was here during the Opium War in 1840 that Lin Zexu, the imperial envoy of the Qing dynasty, burned all the confiscated opium which had been smuggled into China aboard British ships and defeated the invading British warships.

Here in Guangzhou Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) began his organizing activities which led to the 1911 democratic revolution toppling the last feudal dynasty in China. Not far from the center of the city is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial with its azure- glazed roof, manicured lawns, trees and flowers. It was built with funds contributed by patriotic overseas Chinese.

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