Travel

Gulangyu Island - The Jewel of Xiamen

Updated: 2009-04-28
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Xiamen, also known as Amoy, is a coastal sub-provincial city in China's southeastern Fujian province. It looks out to the Taiwan Strait and borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south.

 

Gulangyu Island is one of the most famous scenic spots in Xiamen. It is located just southwest of Xiamen. Gulangyu Island is renowned for its delicate natural beauty, ancient relics, and varied architecture.

 

 

Houses built during last colonial period are the common scenes in the islet

 

Gulangyu Island has about 20,000 permanent residents, all of whom enjoy a comfortable, relaxing life. Only electric-powered vehicles are permitted on the island, so the environment is free from the noise and pollution of combustion engines. Breathing the clean air, appreciating the ever-present green trees and lovely flowers, anyone here can feel like they are in heaven. With classical and romantic European-style architecture, the island truly deserves to be called the'Architecture Museum'. It is also known as the 'Cradle of Musicians' and 'Island of Music' because of its reputation for music appreciation.

 

Among the many scenic spots on the island, the most attractive are Sunlight Rock and the Shuzhuang Garden.

 

Sunlight Rock

Located in the south-central part of the island, Sunlight Rock is the island's highest point with an altitude of 92.7 meters (304 feet). Though it may not rank with high mountain peaks, it appears superb and grand when seen from afar. The name comes from a sun-shaped formation in the granite. When the sun rises, the morning light illuminates the granite in Sunlight Temple and the rocks are bathed with sunlight.

 

Shuzhuang Garden

First built in 1931 on the southside of the island, Shuzhuang Garden was once a private villa. It became a garden park open to the public in 1955. It is divided into two parts-the Garden of Hiding the Sea (Canghaiyuan) and the Garden of Making-Up Hills (Bushanyuan). It was exquisitely designed to embody three important characteristics in gardening---hiding elements, borrowing from one's surroundings, and combining movements.

 

The principle of hiding elements is embodied in the way the ocean remains hidden from view even if you walk right up to the garden gate. However, once you emerge from the bamboo forest, the seascape leaps into view. Climb the Tower of Tide-Viewing to really get a terrific look at the sea.

 

Borrowing from one's surroundings refers to cleverly using naturally available scenery. Using the original slopes facing the sea, the reefs in the bay, and the shape of the shoreline, the former garden owner built bridges and pavilions at various levels. The panorama changes from a small bay to a vast ocean as you ascend. Here, visitors can taste the spray of the surging waves and get a bird's-eye view of other charming islands. Both Sunlight Rock and Hero Hill (Yingxiongshan) are also visible.

 

The garden also possesses another characteristic-the combining of movements. Its unique arrangement joins a rockwork that includes a maze of connected caves with fine pavilions on the side of the slope. Lovely children chasing and gamboling among the caves represent movement and activity, while people resting in the pavilions give a feeling of tranquility and harmonious contemplation.

 

SOURCE: CRI

 

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