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Expert to show you the beauty of Lingnan architecture
Update: 2019-01-31     Source: xinhuanet.com

In Guangzhou many historical Lingnan architecture are well preserved. Lingnan architecture has gone through several stages: academies and ancestral halls from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Xiguan Mansion and arcades from the late Qing Dynasty, Western style buildings with around 100 years history, the modern buildings blending Chinese and Western style after liberation.


Tang Xiaoxiang is a doctoral supervisor and a professor of the School of Architecture, South China University of Technology. He is also a leading expert in architectural aesthetics in China. Want to know the beauty of culture in Lingnan architecture? He has all the answers.

Tang points out that it’s very important to pay attention to both the style and features of a building as well as its historical and cultural background. Take Yongqing Fang for example, millstone path, three-ply door and Manchu-style stained glass window reflect the basic style of traditional residence.

Here are the Lingnan architecture recommended by Tang for you to explore in Guangzhou.

◎ Chen Clan’s Academy

Chen Clan’s Academy (or Chen Jia Ci) is an academic temple in Guangzhou built by 72 Chen clans for their juniors’ accommodation and preparation for the imperial exams in 1894 in the Qing Dynasty. Later it was changed to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and then middle schools afterward. Currently it houses the Guangdong Folk Art Museum.

Because of its historical and art value, it was named a national key cultural relics protection unit by the State Council in 1988 and elected as one of the New “Eight Top Scenic Spots in Guangzhou” in 2002, a national AAAA-rated tourist attraction in 2008. Come here to get a real dose of Chinese culture.

Nearby metro station: Chen Clan Academy Station, Line 1

◎ Western-style buildings in Dongshankou

Dongshankou area is home to the largest collection of Western-style architecture in Guangzhou. Buildings featuring red bricks, white porches, and ochre doors and windows cover this genteel neighborhood. Each of these historic buildings has its unique story of honorable families or well-to-do politicians. Chunyuan, Jianyuan, Kuiyuan and Mingyuan are ideal sites to visit to capture the charm of the architecture from the Republic of China period.

Nearby metro station: Dongshankou Station, Line 1 or 6

◎ Xiguan mansions

Fengyuan Street is where you can find lots of historic architecture in traditional styles, especially the well preserved Xiguan mansions. From these old buildings, you will get a fascinating glimpse to see how Cantonese people lived in the late Qing and earlier.

Xiguan mansions, the grand mansions of high officials and rich businessmen living in Xiguan (today’s Liwan District), has been an inseparable part of the history of Guangzhou ever since it came into being. Its interior decoration adopts exquisite wood carvings, screens and windows in Manchow style. The walls are decorated with polished bricks and hollowed-out Manchow windows whose colored glass reflects on the shinning rosewood furniture and brings about an air of mystery.

Nearby metro station: Changshou Lu Station, Line 1

◎ Arcades in Enning Road

Walking along Enning Road, you will be enchanted by the arcades on this over 1500-meter long street. These arcades were mainly built in the 1920s and 1930s and are well preserved. Due to these extensive arcades, Enning Road is hailed as one of the most beautiful old streets in Guangzhou.

Most of the arcades in Guangzhou are three or four stories with a protruding structure or arcade stretching above from the second story over the sidewalk. They are linked together by the side of the street, forming a shaded corridor, which keeps the shops along the sidewalk as well as the pedestrians safe from the scorching sun and rain. The arcade provides great convenience for the local people, and once was the main form of architectural style in Guangzhou.

Apart from arcades, Enning Road is also home to Former Residence of Bruce Lee, Cantonese Opera Museum, and many other scenic spots. So if you are looking for nostalgic tour of Guangzhou, Enning Road is your best starting point.

Nearby metro station: Huangsha Station, Line 1 or 6

◎ Sacred Heart Cathedral

The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a catholic building with a history of over 150 years. As one of the majestic buildings in China, the church enjoys a reputation as the Eastern Notre-Dame de Paris. Its long history and its Gothic style have endowed the cathedral with an aura of divine power, profound wisdom and glorious sights.

The church is not only a place for Catholics to take mass but also a haven where visitors can compose their minds. In the courtyard, trees and flowers flourish, and the lightness and freshness and intoxication of the gentle air blows here and there with a faint aroma. Sometimes, expats play the guitar and sing music under the trees, all combining to offer a peaceful, relaxing but solemn ambience.

Nearby metro station: Haizhu Square Station, Line 2 or 6

◎ Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial Hall

Designed by the reputable Chinese architect Lu Yanzhi, Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial Hall is located at the former location of the Presidential Palace and was completed in 1931. Thanks to the designer’s ingenious application of architectural mechanics, the 52-meter-high main hall spans a distance of 71 meters without a single pillar, using the structural combination of a steel framework with concrete reinforcement, which gives it a grandeur look.

Nearby metro station: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station, Line 2

◎ Sea Guard Tower

The Sea Guard Tower was built in 1380. It is a five-story building that measures 28 meters high and 31 meters wide. In the history, it has been rebuilt for five times after destroyed, and in 1928 it was built with concrete in place of the original wooden structure. The two lions standing in front of the building were made in the Ming Dynasty. Now the building serves as an exhibit hall for local pictures and other evidences of the city’s history, which displays the changes of culture, custom and city developments.

Nearby metro station: Yuexiu Park Station, Line 2

◎ Guangxiao Temple

Guangxiao Temple (Temple of Bright Filial Piety) occupies an important place in Chinese Buddhism. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Zen Master Zhiyao, an Indian monk, traveled to Guangzhou via Tibet. He lectured on the site of the temple and planted a bodhi tree that he had brought with him.

The temple has a magnificent and imposing appearance. The Mahavira Hall is its main structure. Inside are three newly repaired statues of Buddha. The central Buddha is Sakyamuni, with Manjusri on the left and Samantabhadra on the right. Many temples in southern China imitate the architectural style of Guangxiao Temple.

Nearby metro station: Ximenkou Station, Line 1

◎ Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Located on Liurong Road, the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, or Liurong Temple, was built in 537 of the Liang Dynasty, with a history of over 1400 years. Now a famous Buddhist temple in Guangzhou, Liurong Temple was once a well-known high-rise building in ancient times. Buddhas of the Three Times are enshrined at the temple. The three Buddhas are the biggest existing bronze statues from ancient times in Guangdong.

Nearby metro station: Gongyuanqian Station, Line 1 or 2

◎ Shamian Island

Shamian Island is dotted with various historical buildings. It is a good place to view European-style architecture, since the island served as an important port for foreign trade from the Song through the Qing Dynasties. There is also a very beautiful park where you can relax, take photos, or wander around.

Nearby metro station: Huangsha Station, Line 1 or 6; Cultural Park Station, Line 6

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