Guangzhou, China’s historical trade center

Guangzhou is China’s fifth biggest city with 6.6 Mio. inhabitants, the capital of China’s southern province Guangdong and a major deepwater port on the Pearl River delta. It was founded around 214 B.C. during the reign of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang and was the starting point of the significant Silk Road. Guangzhou soon became an important trading point for the Southeastasian countries to import their foreign products in China.
Reaching from India to Arabia, Guangzhou started its trade relations from the Silk Road. In the 16th century Portugal began trading with Guangzhou and during the 18th century the British, among other Eurpeans, were the dominating culture pursuing trade in and around Guangzhou.
Since the economic reforms in the 80s of the 20th century Guangzhou could develop to one of China’s most important trade, industrial and transportation centers. Nowadays Guangzhou is a special economic development zone in China and looks back on a 2000 year old trade tradition. Guangzhou has also developed to an important trading point of China’s special administrative region Hongkong and has been greatly influenced by this only 200 kilometer distant city.

But apart from its commercial qualities, there are also many intriguing sites to be visited in Guangzhou. The Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall, the remains of the former European settlement on Shamian Island, the Guangdong Provincial Museum, the old Buddhist Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, a Roman-Catholic Cathedral and the centuries’ old Huaisheng mosque reminding of the 1000-year long Islamic influence on South China are only a few possibilities of how to spend some quality-time in Guangzhou and increase ones cultural knowledge.
For the ones interested in more modern buildings Guangzhou also has to offer some of the world’s highest buildings, the 374 meter high Sky Central Plaza and the 391 meter high City Plaza.

Average temperature in Guangzhou is 21,9 degrees. The warm period stretches from June to September and the cold period from December to February. The dry period starts in October and lasts until March and if one wants to avoid rain and experience a comfortable temperature as well, then the best time to visit Guangzhou would be during autumn. The airport “New Baiyun International Airport” is located 25 km outside of the city. To avoid traffic and taxi fees, Guangzhou can be easily reached by the local subway.

Guangzhou also provides one with China’s most exciting culinary experiences. The dishes in Guangzhou are one of the most versatile and best ones in China, but it usually takes the Western people some time to get used to it.
The food in Guangzhou is only slightly seasoned with usually lots of ginger and coriander and the fish is usually being steamed and not fried as most of the fish in China. Choosing the right meal can be qite a challenge if one can’t read Chinese characters and one should be really sure as to what was ordered. The usual trial and error version which is usually applied in order to discover China’s manifold dishes should not be done here.
There is a famous saying in China: “The Cantonese eat everything which is swimming, flying and has four legs except for the submarine, airplanes and tables.” So if one doesn’t watch out, one might be ending up with eating dog’s meat.

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