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Canton (Guangzhou)

Canton has got 9.94 million inhabitants und it is the capital of the province Guangdong. Canton is an important industrial and trade city. The history of Canton begins at the time of Qin Shi Huangdi (reign: 221 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China. In the 3rd and the 2nd century BC Canton was the capital of the kingdom Nanyue, which was independent of China. Because of its harbour Canton had got already early contacts to other countries, especially during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) when China was a cosmopolitical empire. From the 16th century on the European came to Canton and in the 19th century Great Britain imported opium in China through Canton. In 1839 the official Lin Zexu let burn 20000 boxes of opium and this led to the First Opium War (against Great Britain). In 1842 China lost this war. The consequence was the unequal Treaty of Nanjing. In this treaty 5 Chinese harbours were opened for trade with Great Britain and so Great Britain could import more opium in China than before. Canton has got the nickname "Goat City" and in Canton there is a statue with five goats. The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is very famous in Canton. This temple was built in 537 and at the beginning of the 10th century it burned down. At the end of the 10th century this temple was rebuilt by Buddhist monks. In the Grand Hall of this temple there are three big Buddha statues. In the 11th century the Flowery Pagoda was built in this temple. This pagoda is 57 m high and it can be visited inside. There are some Buddha statues in this pagoda. The Temple of the Five Immortals is very important. This temple was built in 1377. According to a legend the Five Immortals helped the population of Canton to survive a famine. The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family is very interesting. This temple was built in 1894. It consists of 6 courtyards and 9 main halls. This temple served to worship the ancestors of the Chen Family. The roofs of this temple are decorated with many colorful ceramic figures. The interior of this temple is also very artistic. Today this temple is a museum. One of the oldest temples in Canton is the Temple of the Bright Filial Piety which was built in the 3rd century. The Mahavira Hall from the 5th century is very important in this temple. Three Buddha statues are in this hall. In this temple there are also two iron pagodas. In Canton there is also the tomb of the second king of Nanyue and a museum with the things which were found in this tomb. In Canton there is also a Christian cathedral, the Holy Heart Cathedral which was built in 1888. One of the oldest mosques in China is also in Canton. It is the Huaisheng Mosque which was built in 627. This mosque has got a 36 m high minaret.

Flowery Pagoda
The Flowery Pagoda

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family

Author and Webmaster: Lukas Czarnecki

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Last Update: 03.08.2006