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Old City Axis

The 2,000-year-old vein of the city of Guangzhou stretches from the mountains to the sea, drawing on their essence to nourish the city. For thousands of years since the Kingdom of Nanyue, the city's politics, history and culture have unfolded along this axis. The traditional old axis of the city, which has evolved in three eras – the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the Republic of China, has turned into a sizable concentration of political institutions and has witnessed a significant number of historical events.

The cluster of attractions in Yuexiu District, including the Yuexiu Mountain, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Zhenhai Tower, and the Five-Ram Sculpture, allows us to renew our understanding of this popular tourist destination where traditions and modernity are integrated. It also forms a themed tour route - "the tour of Guangzhou's historical axis" – linking up a number of historical sites, modern structures, and political institutions.

With this particular tour route, tourists no long look at the sights individually; rather, they can follow the central axis which strings together a number of tourist attractions from low to high terrains and with both close-up and panoramic views; this allows the tourists to fully appreciate the charms of the old city axis, gain insights into local history through the enchanting landscapes, and explore why this axis has become Guangzhou's backbone.

To gain a complete understanding of cultural heritage along the axis in the center of Guangzhou, tourists may extend their route to attractions farther down the axis, such as the King of Yue Terrace, Guangzhou Municipal Government compound, and the "Guangzhou Zero Point" on the southern square of the People's Park. Tourists may visit the Zhenhai Tower, which is a huge collection of ancient and modern "folk history books", and the Sun Yat-sen Monument, which symbolize "the general wishes of the people" and accentuates Mr. Sun Yat-sen's will. Descending along the 498-step stair, tourists can come to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which showcases "people's theories". Farther down south is the Guangzhou Municipal Government Building, where "people's servants" work. Lastly, the axis leads to the City Zero Point, dubbed "the origins of the people". All attractions on this axis are people-themed. This south-to-north "people's axis" tour, ingeniously aligned with the terrains, compels tourists to reflect upon history.

   
                          Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall                      Guangzhou Municipal Government Building         
   
         Zhenhai Tower                                               Sun Yat-sen Monument     
 
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was completed 20 years after the Revolution of 1911 succeeded. Its design incorporates a significant number of Chinese and foreign elements and draws upon the centralized format typical of grandiose commemorative Byzantine basilicas while fully demonstrating the features of traditional Chinese architecture – the octagonal palace, the blue glazed tile roof, the upturned eaves, and the snowflake-patterned lattice windows. It is indeed an awe-inspiring building complex affording food for thought.

The Sun Yat-sen Monument stands on the site of the disused Guanyin Pavilion, rising 37 meters. Seen from a distance, the soaring monument looks like an ancient Egyptian obelisk, with a light difference in shape. Standing atop the 69.2-meter-high Yuejiu Mound on the Yuexiu Mountain, the monument commands a panoramic view of the entire city.

The Zhenhai Tower along the steep mountain slope is shaped like a rhino horn. It serves a triple purpose of "being a town gate, sightseeing and exposition".

The Five-Ram Sculpture was erected in 1956 on the Muke Mound in the Yuexiu Mountain. As a symbol of auspiciousness, however, ram depictions appeared in decorations on many tourist attractions along the old city axis much earlier than the Five-Ram Sculpture. The pedestal of the Sun Yat-sen Monument has 26 stone rams, the roof ridge of the Zhongyuan Building has 20 ceramic rams, and the stem post at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has a ram depiction ……. There are numerous ram depictions.

۞ Route: To fully appreciate the charms of the old city axis, you may tour along the route of "Guangzhou City Original Point – Guangzhou Municipal Government – Sun Yat-sun Memorial Hall – Sun Yat-sen Monument – Zhenhai Building – Zhongyuan Building – Five-Ram Sculpture – Yuexiu Park". You can start from either end – from south to north, or from north to south.

۞ Gourmet Food: If the old city axis is exuding the aroma of history, then its southern end features the aroma of books, soy sauce, and delicacies. For book aroma, you may head to the five theme bookstores on Beijing Road. For soy sauce aroma, you can go to Zhimei Restaurant on East Huifu Road. For culinary delights, there are Bazhen Baked Dumplings on Beijing Road, the gourmet food street on East Huifu Road, and the Gourmet Food Plaza on Mingsheng Square.

※ Transportation
Metro is the best choice of transportation for a tour around the old city axis is metro. Every scenic spot, whether in the north or south of the axis, is walking distance from a metro station. Zhenhai Tower (Xiaobei Station in Metro Line 5), Five-Ram Sculpture in Yuexiu Park (Yuexiu Park Station in Line 2), Sun Yat-sen Monument, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station in Line 2), the municipal government building, the People's Park, Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street, the "Zero Point" of Guangzhou (Gongyuanqian Station in Line 1 or Line 2).

>> Related Attractions: On the Zhenhai Tower, facing south, you can see the Canton Tower in the 10 o'clock direction. The Zhenhai Tower features a full recount of Guangzhou's history, while the Canton Tower commands a panoramic view of the modern metropolis, with the sights spanning 631 years. To go to the Canton Tower, take Metro Line 2 at the Yuexiu Park or Memorial Hall station and transfer to Metro Line 1 at the Front Park station, and then transfer to Metro Line 3 at the West Tiyu Road station and disembark at the Chigang Tower station.

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