What to see in Guangzhou

The major event of the year is the Guangzhou Fair, held every year between April 15th-May 5 and October 15-November 5. A walk through the display areas of the fair is a good way to gain an appreciation of the variety and quality of the products from China’s agriculture and industry. There are also many working models of China’s commune systems and oil-producting installations. There are also many films depicting China’s agriculture and industry.

Sha Mian has a great appeal to the visitor. It is an island made from a sandbank situated near the Renmin Bridge and was established from 1861 as a foreign enclave, mainly British and French. Today the buildings remain, though in shabby condition, but it is pleasant to stroll down the wide boulevards and tree-shaded walks. The White Swan Hotel is located there. Opposite the north bank of the island there is the colorful Qingping Market. There are a number of museums in Guangzhou, the most interesting of which is the Guangzhou Museum located in the “tower overlooking the sea” on top of the hill in Yue Xiu Park.

The National Peasant Movement Institute is considered to be the Chinese Communist Party’s first ideological training school. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai both worked here. The institute, housed in a fine Ming Confucian temple, was converted into dormitories, dining halls and libraries; there were used by the peasants who were training at the Institute and later sent out into the countryside to spread Communist ideology.

The only pagoda in the center of the city is the Decorated Pagoda, located inside the grounds of the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. The best view of the pagoda is obtained from the minaret of the Huaisheng Mosque about half a mile away. The minaret stands in the grounds, housing what it said to be the oldest mosque in China, although the existing building are modern and of little architecture interest. However, the minaret does offer perhaps the most interesting bird’s-eye view of the city because it is central to most of the major sites.